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PEMBROKE, NC (AP) — Farmers who belong to the Lumbee Indian Tribe have begun filing claims now that a nationwide discrimination case involving the federal government has been settled.

The US Department of Agriculture has settled a $680 million lawsuit on behalf of American Indian farmers who said they were denied loans over several decades because of discrimination.

Lawyers handling claims are operating out of a converted barn on a Lumbee farmer’s property in Pembroke. Depending on their documentation, farmers can get up to either $50,000 or $250,000 from the settlement, plus debt forgiveness.

USDA officials say there’s no way to know how many farmers are eligible for the payouts.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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