Recently, I came across a viral video of comedian Pete Holmes discussing the origins of daylight savings time and farmers (and not portraying farmers in a nice or positive light, either). I don’t know where to begin addressing this.There is a place for comedy, but I just want to take a moment to remind everyone of the reality of farming.
Farmers work hard every day, 365 days a year. Regardless of what time the clock says and regardless of whether it is daylight, animals need to be fed and chores need to be done. Keep in mind that daylight savings time does not actually add or eliminate an hour of daylight. Instead it moves that hour from evening to morning, or vice versa. In the winter when daylight hours are short, lots of farm work is done in the dark and in the cold. It may be cold, but that doesn’t mean things stop (voluntarily) on a farm.
Farming is always busy, especially with livestock. Add harvest or planting into the mix and free time becomes almost nonexistent.
For farmers with crops and livestock, this means even longer days. It may be harvest and you may be in the field all the time, but cows still need to be milked (they won’t understand if you tell them they have to wait until harvest is over), animals still need to be fed and chores still need to be done. This leaves very little time for sleeping or anything else for that matter. Most farmers I know don’t have any free time during harvest. And most are tired most of the time.
On top of that, farmers are up at all hours of the night checking on cows that are calving or getting ready to calve to make sure they aren’t having any difficulties and checking on the grain dryer to make sure it’s still running. And then they get up long before the sun in the morning. There are no sick days when you have livestock and especially not during harvest.
Farming can also be a very dangerous job at times. Augers, for example, are not very forgiving and can easily cause serious damage to people. Bulls (and cows, too) can trample or in another way hurt people. Farming involves long hours and a lot of risk.
So, then why do people farm if there is so much risk involved and such long hours and no vacations or sick days? Farmers are some of the most dedicated people I know. They love what they do. In this industry, you have to love it.
If you have been curious about where your food comes from and/or how it is produced, get in touch with a farmer on social media. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Better yet, visit a farm! Lots of farms have opened their doors for agritourism.
Less than two percent of Americans are directly involved in agriculture, but food is something that is very relevant and important to 100% of the population, so let’s discuss it…respectfully. Ask questions directly to the farming community and don’t believe everything you hear on the internet.