Judge approves black farmers settlement

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has given final approval to a $1.2 billion government settlement with black farmers who claim they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance from the Agriculture Department over many years.

Federal judge Paul Friedman approved the settlement late Thursday. He said it will likely take about a year for neutral parties to review claims and then all of the settlements will be paid out at once.

This is the second round of settlements in the 1999 case known as the Pigford case, after the original plaintiff, North Carolina farmer Timothy Pigford. The settlement is directed at farmers who were denied payments in the first round because they missed deadlines for filing.

Congress passed the settlement last year.

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