Indian Farmers Settle With Feds

New Mexico – The government and American Indian farmers who say they were denied farm loans have agreed on terms for a $680 million settlement of a long-running lawsuit.

The two sides agreed on the deal after more than 10 months of negotiations. The government and the Indian plaintiffs met Tuesday in federal court in Washington to present the settlement to U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan.

A hearing on preliminary approval of the deal is set for Oct. 29. Sullivan indicated he is pleased with the agreement, calling it historic and stepping down from his bench to shake hands with lawyers from both sides.

The lawsuit filed in 1999 contends that Indian farmers and ranchers lost about $500 million because they were denied federal loans.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.