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Reader's view: Protecting bats will pay off for farmers and loggers

Perhaps the timber industry has not fully understood the economic value of bats for

insect/pest control services.

White-nose syndrome has killed nearly 7 million bats since 2006. This translates into about 7,000 tons of insects per year that are not being consumed by bats. As a result, farmers and timber growers need more pesticides to protect their crops. This is costly and potentially harmful to the environment and your family.

Simply put: The loss of bats results in higher production costs but less production.

Bats provide $1.4 billion in economic benefits to Minnesota agriculture every year by eating insects that otherwise would attack crops. The value of bats to the Minnesota timber industry is equally substantial.

Timber producers and others have responded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bat-

protection recommendation with knee-jerk objections. I suggest they sit with the scientists and hear the facts. Healthy bat populations mean healthier forests and healthier farms. Healthy forests and farms mean successful production of trees and crops. Protecting bats will produce benefits for all Minnesotans.

Laura Gloor