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About the Team

  • Scott Carlson

    Executive Director and Attorney at Law

    Scott W. Carlson is FLAG’s Executive Director. Raised on a family farm, Scott has maintained life-long connections to agriculture and family farmers. With his personal background and extensive professional experience in state and federal farm policy and complex litigation, Scott brings a deep commitment to protecting family farms and to achieving legal, social, and economic justice for family farmers and their communities.

    Scott served as the North Dakota Department of Agriculture Policy and Communications Director under Commissioner Sarah Vogel, one of FLAG’s founding attorneys. He was also U.S. Senator Kent Conrad’s Legislative Assistant for Agriculture, which included staffing Sen. Conrad on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee. Scott also served as Senior Professional Staff on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. As a U.S. Senate staff member, Scott worked regularly with Congressional leadership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the White House on agriculture and food legislation, regulation and public policy. During his career in Washington, D.C., farmers across the country faced numerous and repeated natural disasters. Scott worked to ensure that Congress and the Administration provided fair disaster funding and helped create responsible and responsive public policy to help keep family farmers on the land. Ultimately, Scott served as one of the top U.S. Senate staff negotiators during the conference committee policy negotiations over the Agricultural Risk Protection Act of 2000, which overhauled the federal crop insurance program, expanded it to include new crops and farmers, and set the foundation for modern federal farm risk management programs.

    An honors graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, Scott served as Managing Editor of the Minnesota Law Review. He then practiced law for more than twelve years before joining FLAG. He is rated by Super Lawyers, and was named to the list of outstanding attorneys as a “Rising Star” in 2014. Scott served as trial counsel in In re High Pressure Laminates Antitrust Litigation, a six-week federal trial in the Southern District of New York, and in In re Polyester Staple Antitrust Litigation (W.D.N.C.), a federal antitrust case that settled with the last remaining defendant on the eve of trial, ultimately recovering more than the single damages suffered by the class. Scott has extensive experience in complex litigation, including In re Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation (D.D.C.) (claims alleging conspiracy among major domestic railroads to fix prices for rail freight surcharges); In re Titanium Dioxide Antitrust Litigation (D. Md.) (price-fixing claims against manufacturers of titanium dioxide); In re Lawnmower Engines Horsepower Marketing & Sales Practices Litigation (E.D. Wis.) (alleging consumer fraud, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment claims against manufacturers of lawn mowers and lawn mower engines); In re AOL Time Warner Securities Litigation (S.D.N.Y.) (securities fraud claims against AOL and Time Warner on behalf of shareholders); In re Guidant Corp. Implantable Defibrillators Products Liability Litigation (D. Minn.) (product liability claims on behalf of patients with implanted defibrillators); In re Monosodium Glutamate Antitrust Litigation (D. Minn.) (price-fixing claims on behalf of business purchasers of MSG); In re Fiber Optic Cable Litigation (N.D. Ill.) (claims on behalf of property owners alleging that telecommunication companies installed facilities within rights of way without consent); and other complex litigation.

    Court Admissions:

    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals
    • United States District Court (D. Minn.)
    • United States District Court (D.N.D.)
    • United States District Court (C.D. Ill.)

  • Lynn Hayes

    Program Director

    Lynn A. Hayes was a founding attorney at FLAG. After 16 years, she left FLAG in the spring of 2002 to move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In early 2006, FLAG welcomed Lynn back as senior staff attorney and, beginning September 2006, she began serving again as FLAG’s program director. Lynn worked for the Office of the Monitor for three years, reviewing African-American farmers’ claims in the racial discrimination case against USDA,Pigford v. Veneman. During her tenure at FLAG, Lynn was lead or co-counsel in several lawsuits, including Coleman v. Lyng(national class action lawsuit against the Farmers Home Administration); the Minnesota Milk Producers Association’s challenge to federal milk marketing order provisions; and the pork checkoff case, among others. She has presented hundreds of workshops for farmers and their advocates on agricultural credit, contract-farming, environmental, commodity pricing, and anti-trust issues. She has assisted farm organizations in developing proposed regulations and legislation at both the state and federal levels in many of these same issue areas. Lynn received her B.A. in English from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and her J.D. from Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C.

    Court Admissions:

    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • United States District Court (D. Minn.)
    • United States District Court (W. Dist. MI)
    • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
    • Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
    • United States Supreme Court

  • Stephen Carpenter

    Deputy Director and Senior Staff Attorney

    Stephen is a graduate of Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and of Stanford Law School. At Stanford Law School, Stephen was active in the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, was a Stanford Law Review executive editor, and received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship that brought him to FLAG in 1993.

    At FLAG, Stephen’s work has centered on discrimination in agricultural lending, debtor-creditor issues, disaster assistance, federal farm programs, sustainable agriculture and direct marketing, and the problems of farmers contracting for livestock production. He served as Senior Counsel in the Office of the Monitor in the Pigford case, and is at present the court-appointed Ombudsman for the In re Black Farmers Discrimination case.

    Stephen has conducted frequent FLAG trainings for farmers, advocates, and attorneys and has spoken to farmers and their advocates in more than 30 states. He has authored and edited several FLAG materials and publications. Law review articles include “The USDA Discrimination Cases: PigfordKeepseagleIn re Black Farmers, Garcia, and Love,” and “A New Higher Calling for Agricultural Law,” both in the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law (2012, 2013), “Family Farmers in Poverty: A Guide to Agricultural Law for Legal Services Practitioners,” Clearinghouse Review (1996) (with Randi Ilyse Roth) and “Farm Chemicals, Soil Erosion, and Sustainable Agriculture,” Stanford Environmental Law Journal (1994).

    Stephen is a member of the Agri-Food Collaborative at the University of Minnesota, is on several academic advisory committees, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

    Court Admissions:

    • Minnesota Supreme Court

  • Lindsay Kuehn

    Staff Attorney

    As a former pig farmer turned lawyer, Lindsay joined FLAG in the summer of 2017. Though a native of Minneapolis, Lindsay received her B.A. from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL, and then moved to Arkansas where she temporarily set aside her city roots for rural soil. During her time in Arkansas, Lindsay worked for Heifer International, a development organization striving to end hunger through providing livestock and agricultural training, while also helping to manage a small livestock farm dedicated to raising animals in a sustainable, healthy environment. Lindsay then attended the University of Arkansas, where she obtained her law degree as well as a Masters in Public Service from the Clinton School of Public Service. Lindsay clerked for a Hennepin County District Court Judge before joining FLAG.

  • Wendy Reid

    Legal Office and Grants Administrator

    Wendy joined FLAG in July 2016 as our new full time office management and grants administrator. No stranger to a long day’s work in the hot sun, she is a former professional garden designer, who is committed to supporting small independent farmers as a co-op member and current organic backyard vegetable farmer. She was drawn to our mission to protect small family farms. She was raised in a household where fighting for the underdog was encouraged and she developed an understanding that social justice is hard work that requires persistence, kindness and diligence. A graduate of University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Psychology and Minor in Art History and Native American Studies, she was proud to work on a fundraising campaign that raised a third of the money for Paul Wellstone’s first senatorial victory. Before coming to work at FLAG, she spent over a decade supporting a staff of attorneys at a legal services firm delivering complex written legal work to attorneys worldwide. Since 2009, she has volunteered with and currently serves on the board of People & Pets Together, a Minneapolis based non-profit who opened Minnesota’s first pet food shelf in February 2016. She is excited to bring her years of non-profit management, legal administration and commitment to social justice to this position.

  • Karen Krub

    Of Counsel

    Karen Krub first came to FLAG in 1995 as a summer intern, primarily exploring production contract issues. She then received a Skadden Fellowship which allowed her to return as a staff attorney in September of 1996. Since joining FLAG, Karen has worked primarily in the areas of administrative law, agricultural credit, disaster assistance, and farmer-owned agricultural business development.

    Karen grew up in the Skagit Valley of northwestern Washington, but not on one of the area’s many farms. Instead, her family fished for salmon in the coastal waters of Washington and Alaska. Although at ten she had big plans for a boat of her own, Karen continued with school, earning a B.S. in Resource Development from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, in 1991, and graduating from Yale Law School in 1996.

    Court Admissions:

    • Minnesota Supreme Court
    • United States District Court (D. Minn.)
    • United States District Court (D.N.D.)
    • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
    • United States Supreme Court

  • Thom Petersen
    Board President

    Thom Petersen is the Director of Government Relations for Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), and a long-time advisor, collaborator, and friend of FLAG. Thom works with MFU’s farmer-members in both Washington, D.C. and St. Paul, and has served as a member of the State Organic Task Force and the Minnesota NextGen Energy Board. Petersen grew up on a farm in Pine City, Minnesota, and lives with his wife, Alana, their two sons, and some horses, across the road from his parents, who still farm. Petersen brings to FLAG’s Board an enormous range of experience and connections—unequaled knowledge of state and federal farm policy and how those policies affect farmers’ daily lives; a travel schedule that takes him to most every county of our home state every year; and intense work with the state Legislature on issues that affect family farmers. (Location: Pine City, Minnesota)

  • Lois Wood
    Board Vice-President

    Lois Wood is the directing attorney of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. and is also an attorney with the Illinois Family Farm Law Project. Ms. Wood has been lead counsel in several successful agricultural law cases and has written numerous articles on farm law issues. She is a winner of the Kutak-Dodds prize for 2003, and s he was the 1994 recipient of the Attorney Recognition Award give by the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois and was recommended for a U.S. District Court judgeship in 1993. Ms. Wood is a member of the Delivery Working Group on Recruitment and Retention, National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the Project Advisory Group. (Location: Alton, Illinois.)

  • Susan A. Schneider
    Board Secretary

    Susan Schneider joined FLAG’s Board in 2008 and currently serves as FLAG’s Board Secretary. Susan is a law professor and serves as the Director the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. This Program is the only advanced legal degree program in the U.S. that provides an integrated study of our food system, from farm to fork. Susan has taught agricultural and food law at Arkansas since 1997. Prior to that, she represented farmers and farm advocates in private practice, working with firms in Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C., including work as a FLAG staff attorney. In 2010, Susan was awarded the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Distinguished Service award, demonstrating “sustained excellence” in contributing to the development of agricultural law. In 2011, her article, Reconsidering Agricultural Law: A Call for the Law of Food, Farming, and Sustainability received the AALA legal scholarship award. She is the author of the Agricultural Law text, Food, Farming & Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law. (Location: West Fork, Arkansas)

  • Benny Bunting
    Board Member

    Benny Bunting, a farmer and the Lead Farmer Advocate with The Rural Advancement Foundation International–USA based in North Carolina, is a self-taught authority with encyclopedic knowledge of federal, state, and local farm programs. Years ago, Benny had to fight to save his own farm and has since helped countless farm families avoid bankruptcy and foreclosure. According to the calculations compiled by RAFI-USA, he “has been successful 90 percent of the time and has saved farm families an estimated $42 million.” In 2008, Benny received the Nancy Susan Reynolds Award for Personal Service from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, in honor of his many years of hard work as one of “the unsung heroes of North Carolina whose vision, determination, resourcefulness and strength of character have caused them to make a positive difference in the state…often…at great personal or professional sacrifice.” (Location: Oak City, North Carolina)

  • Janie Simms Hipp
    Board Member

    Janie Simms Hipp, who joined FLAG’s Board in 2014, is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She serves as the Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law, with the companion title of visiting professor of law. Prior to joining the School of Law, Janie was senior adviser for tribal relations to USDA’s Secretary Thomas Vilsack. She is the founder of the USDA’s Office of Tribal Relations in the Office of the Secretary and served two terms on the USDA Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. Janie is an LL.M. graduate of the School of Law’s Agricultural and Food Law program, and holds a J.D. from Oklahoma City University and a B.A. in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma. (Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas)

  • Thomas W. Mitchell
    Board Member

    Thomas Mitchell joined FLAG’s Board in 2001. He is a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, WI. Professor Mitchell has done extensive work in the area of land tenure within the African American community. He has served as the Reporter and primary author of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which is intended to provide adequate legal tools to address the fractionization of land interests which frequently occurs in the African American and Native American communities. Professor Mitchell is the second African American to have served in this capacity for the Uniform Law Commission in its 120-year history, during which time it has promulgated 270 uniform acts including the Uniform Commercial Code and the Uniform Probate Code. He received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College, his J.D. from Howard University, and his LL.M from the University of Wisconsin upon completion of the William H. Hastie Fellowship. Before pursuing his LL.M., Thomas was a litigation associate at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., and he clerked for Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the District Court of the D.C. Circuit. (Location: Madison, Wisconsin)

  • Ross Racine
    Board Member

    Ross Racine joined FLAG’s Board in 2015. He is the Executive Director of Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), since 2001. Ross served as the IAC Natural Resources Director beginning in 1991, and as the IAC Director of Programs since 1999. Ross is a Blackfeet Indian, veteran of the USMC, and has spent many years working on farms and ranches in the Browning, Montana area. After earning his B.S. degree in Agriculture/Animal Science at Montana State University, he worked at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as a Soil Conservationist working with Indian livestock producers on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. He received a Northwest Regional Award of the Intertribal Timber Council for his work on models for Tribal planning on land use. Ross’s entire professional career has been spent working with Indian farmers and ranchers in the development and management of their resources, and he has extensive cross-cultural experience. Among his many involvements, Ross serves on the NRCS Chiefs Reinvention Forum Executive Committee regarding negotiation of the NRCS-Conservation District agreements, is co-chairman of the BIA’s writing team on regulation creation for resource planning, is an Indian Land Tenure Foundation Board Member, serves as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee for the National Congress of American Indians; and also serves on his local school board. (Location: Billings, Montana)

  • Monica A. Rainge
    Board Member

    Monica A. Rainge (B.S., J.D., LL.M.) grew up in the southern pines of Thomasville, Georgia. Her experiences as a Master 4-Her of Georgia focused her educational studies in agriculture and law. Monica earned a B.S. degree in Agricultural Business (Summa Cum Laude) from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a law degree from the University of Florida. During law school, she served as a research assistant to Dr. Michael Olexa, Director of the University of Florida Agricultural Law Program and coauthored a publication on Florida fence law. She earned a Master of Laws in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law’s Graduate Program in Agricultural Law in 1999. Monica has worked in the public and private agricultural sectors for over 20 years and is licensed to practice law in Florida. She currently serves as the Florida State Coordinator and the Heir Property Project Coordinator for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. (Location: Florida)

  • Terry VanDerPol
    Board Member

    Terry VanDerPol farms in the western part Minnesota outside of Granite Falls, raising cattle. She is also a member of Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and is LSP’s Community Based Food Systems Program Director. (Montevideo, Minnesota)

  • Chue Vang
    Board Member

    Chue Vang is a farmer who lives in Minneapolis and raises vegetables to sell at our local Twin Cities farmers’ markets. She loves farming and has become a community leader, serving as a member of the Hmong Advisory Group for a Harvesting Healthier Food project through the University of Minnesota’s Healthy Foods Healthy Lives program. In February 2012, Chue was one of a handful of Hmong American farmers to testify in a White House-initiated listening session on issues facing immigrant farmers. (Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota)