In light of the recent discussions from the agriculture community over the YouTube video that has been circulating Facebook about farmers and their influence on the creation of Daylight Savings Time, I thought I would do my own bit of research! For those of you who haven’t seen the video, a comedian, Pete Holmes, rants about how it is farmer’s “fault” that we observe Daylight Savings Time. Towards the end of the video he creates his own inaccurate description of an idealistic farm lifestyle. In contrast to his claims, I discovered some information about the time change that is deeply rooted in our nations history.
The sites I searched through all seemed to have the same history about the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Prior to 1883, time was based on larger cities and their locally determined “sun times.” After the railroads were established, the four-zone system was adopted creating Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific Time Zones. Congress signed these time zones to law in 1918.
This same act also legalized the use of Daylight Saving Time (DST) nationwide. This section was repealed the next year, which left DST as a state or local decision. Not all 50 states recognize DST. Arizona and Hawaii do not require their citizens to observe the time change. Only a portion of Indiana followed Daylight Savings until 2005 when a state law was passed requiring the entire state to change their clocks in April 2006.
Now, I didn’t find anything saying Holmes is wrong, nor did I find evidence that he is right. What I did find was that we have been using time change since the early 1900’s and it hasn’t failed us yet! Even more interesting, it has showed signs of saving us energy and reducing crime! I, for one, will not complain about that extra hour of sleep every fall!
As for the rest of his video, I’ll take his comments with a grain of salt. I know from growing up on a farm just how rewarding that lifestyle can be and how dedicated farmer’s must be to have any success. If Holmes wants to help to let the rest of the world know how great it is, well that can only helps us!
U.S. Department of Transportation
California Energy Commission