Wouldn’t you say it’s about time? It’s hard to get used to these extra weeks of daylight saving time — an extension mandated by Congress a few years ago.
Listen to the interview [swf file="CSMON_segb_110810 1.mp3"params="wmode=transparent"]
Central standard time is actually a big deal around the newsroom here at KCUR in Kansas City. We have a new talk show (live from 10-11 a.m. Monday through Thursday) called Central Standard. In fact, host Jabulani Leffall and producer Andrea Silenzi are tackling the whole idea of central standard time in the show for Monday, Nov. 8.
And the question came up: Why did the farmer want daylight saving time so badly? Because EVERYONE knows he did. That’s why we go through this ritual every year.
As the editor of Harvest Public Media, devoted to all things agriculture, I went looking for an explanation.
What I found was a myth — or what you might call a rural legend.
Here’s one of the stranger notions voiced recently by an ag extension agent: Extra daylight in the mornings wasn’t helpful to farmers because there was still dew on the ground and they couldn’t harvest or plant with the moisture hanging around.
In truth, farmers have been among the most vocal opponents of daylight saving
The U.S. adopted daylight saving time in 1918, but repealed it just a year later; the repeal was sparked by protests by farmers, who insisted on a return to "God's time."
The influence of farmers, however, could not compete with economics, and daylight saving time would return. Sales of golf equipment and course fees go up in DST, and so do sales of barbecue equipment, and seeds and gardening supplies. There also were supporting arguments about conserving energy (we had year-round DST during World War II for that reason), but those don’t seem to make sense anymore. Americans tend to go out and about – in their cars – when there is light in the evening.
Farmers still don't like daylight saving time, but there are fewer and fewer of them to complain.
Falsifying clock time in America has become "the most sustained political controversy of the last 100 years," says Michael Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.”
For more on this fascinating history, listen to my interview with Downing. It aired Monday, Nov. 8 on Central Standard. At 10 a.m. — central standard time, of course.