TALL stories, small stories, all stories.
It was a day of reminiscing as Elders former employees gathered at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel, Bunbury, last week for the Elders Past Employees Association (EPEA) annual South West luncheon.
More than 40 members made the journey, some from just around the corner, others who are keeping a hand in farming from properties in nearby shires and some from the metropolitan region.
Shared experience under the red banner was the common thread, ensuring the camaraderie remained rock solid and there was plenty of free-flowing banter.
Current EPEA president Bob Peake said the South West group now had 43 members and statewide the association had welcomed 36 new members in the past 12 months.
A company themed mini quiz with questions such as who is the longest serving current employee (Adrian Gamble), which Elders employee opened the batting for Australia and also played World Series Cricket in the 1970s (Bruce Laird) and which WA entrepreneur launched an unsuccessful takeover bid for Elders in 1981 (Robert Holmes-a-Court) sparked plenty of debate, a few laughs and saw Doug Slater and Greg Willey the 'top scholars', finishing as joint winners.
Elders zone general manager west James Cornish was a special guest, there to give an update on company standings, but just as keen to espouse the value of past employees groups to the fabric of the company.
"I sincerely value the conversations I've had with many of you at these get-togethers especially in the days when the company wasn't travelling so well," Mr Cornish said.
"I certainly went away from these functions with my spirits lifted and feeling a lot better than when I came.
"Thankfully those days are behind us and we're now on a path of aggressive growth.
"I've spoken before of our acquisition of the Southern Districts Estate Agency real estate business and that has proven enormously successful.
With the subsequent bolt-on of a couple of smaller related businesses that group now comprises 75 staff," Mr Cornish said.
"Last night I attended the Darkan branch opening night which is a real positive for that area.
"We recently bought a retail business in Merredin and one in Bruce Rock and the Coorow branch we opened last year is also travelling very well.
"There is a lot of opportunity out there at the moment and we have another six to eight potential signings on the books, but we are very selective in what we look at.
"With the average sheep price at more than $100 a head, cattle at about $1000 a head, wool at almost $3000 a bale and strong grain prices it is good times for agriculture in WA.
"Significantly, our Bunbury branch was rated the number one in Australia on EBITDA last year and Albany wasn't far behind and we see more good results ahead," Mr Cornish said.