INTRODUCTION Farming is the backbone of the New Zealand economy, and as a result, influences all aspects of New Zealand life. Sir Keith Holyoake, New Zealand's prime minister from 1960 to 1972, was often quoted as saying, "if farmers are happy the country will be happy" [Gustafson, 2007, p. 314]. Agriculture was, and still is, essential to New Zealand's economy. (1) Consequently, the government was directly involved in agriculture decisions related to production and marketing, as well as indirectly through agriculture producer boards for the apple and pear, meat, dairy, and wool industries. Members of New Zealand's Parliament were often farmers, thus farming interests were well-represented at this level. Holyoake was the archetypical farmer-politician as was William Massey ("Farmer Bill"), New Zealand's prime minister from 1912 to 1925. Massey was heavily involved in the period when standard values for farm accounting emerged, and Holyoake was similarly involved when standard-value accounting (SVA) was being called into question as an accounting practice. This paper uses archival material to explore the interrelation between farmers, accounting, and the state in the introduction and use of SVA. In doing so, we examine the events that came together and influenced the emergence and subsequent decline of SVA in New Zealand.