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Coming clean on Daylight Saving Time and agriculture

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As the nation turns back the clock one hour in observance of Daylight Saving Time, there’s a common perception that it’s a good thing for agriculture. That’s not necessarily the case:

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Daylight hours will be extended into the evening– a welcome change in the clock for many people tired of the dark, gray days of winter. But it’s a myth that Daylight Saving Time was created to benefit agriculture:

PAGE:  “That’s not true. In fact, a lot of farm groups across the country were opposed to daylight saving time when it was reconsidered and proposed in the early 1900s.”  :12

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Stephanie Page of the Oregon Department of Agriculture says whether Daylight Saving Time is a good thing or a bad thing for individual operators depends on what they do and their own circumstances:

PAGE:  “A lot of our mid to small farms, the folks that operate those farms have day jobs. So they might appreciate the extra hour of light in the evening to be able to do more chores on their farm.”  :11

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On the other hand, dairy operators might find a change in the clock to be bothersome and disruptive to their milking schedules. In general, good or bad, a time change really doesn’t alter what a farmer or rancher needs to do on a daily basis. There are only so many hours in a day to get the work done whether the clock springs forward or falls back one hour. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

Additional audio: Audio 03
PAGE says dairy farms may need to adjust a little more than other types of agriculture because the cows are used to being milked at a specific time:

“This sets them off an hour, so it could be pretty disruptive to their milking schedules, which happen around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”  :10

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PAGE says most people in agriculture have learned to adjust to seasonal changes in the clock and are probably okay with the arrival of Daylight Saving Time:

“Farmers operate during daylight. So regardless of what time of day it is, when there is sunlight, they have particular activities that they need to do. Some folks actually prefer to do some of their activities at night to minimize disruption on their neighbors. Some of those things are going to happen regardless of what the clock says.”  :18

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