SAN FRANCISCO – At the opening banquet of the 121st Anniversary Convention, National Farmers Union (NFU) presented Sarah Vogel of North Dakota and Doug Peterson of Minnesota with the 2023 Meritorious Service Awards, the highest honor presented by Farmers Union.

Sarah Vogel was presented with the award for Meritorious Service to Farmers Union and to World Agriculture. Hailed as “a giant killer in ag law” by The Nation, Sarah Vogel is an advocate, author, and one of the foremost agriculture lawyers in the United States.

“Sarah’s record of fighting for family farmers across the country and world speaks for itself,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “I’m glad to call Sarah a friend, and someone who embodies so many of the core values of Farmers Union. Congratulations to her on this well-deserved award.” 

Vogel’s debut memoir, The Farmer’s Lawyer, shares her historic fight as a young single mother during the 1980s farm crisis when she took on her first case and sued the federal government on behalf of thousands of farmers nationwide who were in danger of losing their farms and livelihood.

The first woman elected state Commissioner of Agriculture in U.S. history, Vogel was born in North Dakota to a family with roots in the Nonpartisan League (NPL) and has fought for decades to implement the progressive politics of the NPL.

Doug Peterson was presented with the award for Meritorious Service to Farmers Union and to American Agriculture. Peterson served as President of Minnesota Farmers Union for 14 years and retired from that role in 2016.

“Congratulations to Doug on this honor and for his years of service to Farmers Union,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Doug has been a champion for farmers and rural communities for his entire career, whether it was his work in the Minnesota Legislature, or as the President of Minnesota Farmers Union.” 

Peterson was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1990 and was re-elected five times. In the House, he founded and served as Chair of the Right to Be Rural Coalition. As President of Minnesota Farmers Union, he created Minnesota Cooks to promote and support a local and sustainable food system.

Doug is also an accomplished artist, ranging from acrylic paintings to drawing, sculpture, and ceramics.

Photos for use from the awards presentation can be found here.

Leave a Reply