Most of the nation will turn clocks back one hour at 2 a.m. Sunday, the annual end of daylight saving time that means earlier sunrises but darker afternoons. The tradition of moving clocks one hour forward on the second Sunday in March and back on the first Sunday in November dates to Benjamin Franklin, but who is really to blame for manipulation of time may not be who you thought. It wasn’t the farmers. Michael Downing, author of the 2006 book “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” said it’s a persistent belief in the U.S. that farmers wanted the time change. In fact, they fought the time changes, even taking their opposition all the way to the Supreme Court in the 1920s. “The whole proposition that we lose or gain an hour is, at best, philosophical, what are we talking about? And yet we go on talking about it every year,” Downing said in a March interview with The Palm Beach Post. “We have eight months of it now, so, in reality, it has become our standard time.” Farmers disliked daylightsavingtime because they needed the sun to dry the dew from their crops before they could harvest them and take them to market. With the sun rising an hour later, they argued, they were having to wait too long to pick their produce. At the same time, cows didn’t follow man’s clock. They needed to be milked every 12 hours and daylightsavingtime meant the farmer who once woke at sunrise to milk now had to be up in the dark, using artificial light. So why do so many people believe farmers are the reason for the time change? Downing said it goes back to when the first nationwide daylightsavingtime law was passed in 1918 as an energy-saving measure during World War I. But it was also supported by Boston-area department store owner Lincoln Filene, who compiled a list of the benefits of daylight savingtime, including that “most farm products are better when gathered with dew on. They are firmer, crisper, than if the sun has dried the dew off.” “This was news to farmers,” said Downing, who said he believes the true reason for the 1918 change was that the retail, leisure and sports industry saw benefits to daylightsavingtime. After all, more daylight after work meant more time to shop, play golf and go to baseball games. The movie industry, however, was with the farmers in opposition to the time change, noting that people don’t go to the theater when it’s light out, Downing said. “Overall, though, there is a quality-of-life benefit,” said David Prerau, who wrote the 2006 book “Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of DaylightSavingTime.” “People would generally prefer having the extra hour of daylight in the evening than if they had an extra hour in the morning.” By the early 1960s, states and municipalities were allowed to opt in or out of daylight saving time and decide on their own start and stop dates. That led to “widespread” confusion and chaos, Prerau said. One infamous example was a bus route from West Virginia to Ohio that included seven time changes. In 1966, Congress approved the Uniform Time Act, which included a requirement that clocks be moved ahead by one hour beginning at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in April and turned back by one hour at 2 a.m. on the last Sunday in October. States were allowed to exempt themselves from the requirement as long as the entire state did so. Today, Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico do not recognize daylight saving time. Downing and Prerau disagree on the actual energy savings that occur during daylight saving time. Prerau said studies have shown less is spent on electricity, but Downing argues the studies are mostly theoretical and don’t account for the increase in gas consumption by people out taking advantage of the prolonged evening daylight. Downing said that through the years, everyone from bus-riding students to “big government liberals” and even Richard Nixon has been blamed for instituting daylight saving time. “It seems like such a simple gesture — spring forward, fall back,” Downing wrote in the preface to his book. “Does anyone know what we’re doing?” If you haven’t yet, join Kim on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.