Our very own Peter McSkimming was in the Guest Speaker’s chair, talking about farm management consulting in the days of yore here in WA. In the early 1960s virtually all of the consultants (FMCs) were New Zealanders, and Peter’s philosophy was go to the people, live with them, learn from them, love them, start with what they know, build on what they have, and eventually they will say: “we have done this ourselves”. Peter was involved at Pinjarra and Meckering, and farm productivity improved amazingly in the mid-60s. However, not all of the farmers were convinced that they needed help to bridge the gap between scientists and themselves, and talk around town often became distorted depending on which end of the bar you occupied! A lot of peer pressure existed, not only between farmers but also in marriages and families, and this was exacerbated by the earthquake in 1968 which destroyed half of the homesteads around Meckering. Over time the number of farmers has diminished, and the need for high quality planning and budgeting has become even more important. When strained personal relationships emerged the FMCs were the meat in the sandwich! However the best compliment Peter received was from a farmer who said ‘I don’t know what he did but it worked’. For Peter those years were very satisfying and in spite of the many challenges the discussions and friendships resulted in significant farm improvements. The short term was taken care of, but did the FMCs contribute to what was needed in the long term? We suspect that they did!