Farmers don’t seem worried about DST vote either way

·3 min read

After narrow results in an election-night referendum on Daylight Saving Time meant clocks will continue to change twice a year, the News caught up with a couple local growers to gauge the mindset of farmers in the region.

On Oct. 18, voters across Alberta were asked if they “want to adopt year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is summer hours, eliminating the need to change our clocks twice a year?”

Results were incredibly close, with 50.2% opposing a switch to permanent DST and 49.8% voting in favour. However, in Medicine Hat, nearly 62% of voters (12,113 people) were in a favour of DST, while 38% (7,473) opposed.

Albert Cramer, one of the owners of Big Marble Farms and owner of Rolling Acres Greenhouses, says he doesn’t have a strong opinion one way or the other, but offered thoughts around how a time change and greenhouse work.

“Here in Alberta, especially in Medicine Hat, we’re in the beginning of the time zone so it would be pretty dark early in the morning. It wouldn’t get light until about 9 a.m. so for working and stuff like that, it’s not very handy, because then you have to work later in the day to get your eight hours in the greenhouse,” said Cramer. “I would like the longer evenings, but overall I think it’s better if (the time) changes for us and I would hope it stays that way.”

DST in the summer time is important in greenhouse work, Cramer says, otherwise workers would have to start earlier to avoid working in the hottest part of the day.

“We always start at 6 a.m. in the morning,” said Cramer. “Otherwise we’d have to start 5 (a.m.) because it gets way too hot too quickly in the greenhouse.”

Cramer said the results were closer than he thought they would be.

Tim Heeg is a local farmer who helps his two nephews run a large farm outside Acadia Valley.

“We farm about 10,000 acres of cultivated ground,” said Heeg. “My wife and I have a few cows, but that’s just on the side.”

Heeg thought adopting year-round DST, or summer hours, was a good idea and says he voted in favour of it.

“I’m in the south and right up against the Saskatchewan border. When we change times here in the fall and Saskatchewan doesn’t, 10 minutes down the road there’s an hour difference and it’s always been a little bit of a nuisance really,” said Heeg. “If you’re planning to do anything and cross the line into that province, you’ve got to realize that they’re an hour earlier.”

Heeg says he personally feels it wouldn’t make a big difference for farmers, and his nephew Scott Heeg agreed.

“I don’t care if it goes one way or another. I don’t know why that’s a popular opinion, that farmers care the most about it. We have headlights on all of our equipment now, so it doesn’t affect me,” said Scott. “We do a little bit of business in Saskatchewan so to be on the same time would’ve been nice, but that’s about as far as my opinion goes.”

Heeg says as a farmer, time is often irrelevant.

“As far as farming and what we do here, I didn’t think it made much difference,” said Heeg. “It doesn’t really matter what the time on the clock says, you just go to work.”

LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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