BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Sen. Byron Dorgan says the federal government will reimburse durum growers for up to half their fungicide costs to help combat scab disease in this year's crop.

The North Dakota Democrat who sits on the Senate's Appropriations Committee says $3 million has been dedicated to the Agriculture Department program. The Farm Service Agency is expected to announce an application period in the coming weeks.

Durum wheat is used to make pasta. Dorgan says it's at a competitive disadvantage with other crops because of the expensive fungicide farmers have to use for protection.

Scab is brought on by prolonged wet weather when the crop is flowering. It can devastate fields and has caused widespread losses in past years.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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