A McKENZIE Creek farmer plans to pay a portion of his Horsham Rural City Council rates in protest against a rates hike for farmers.
Neville McIntyre wrote a letter in Monday's Mail-Times encouraging farmers to follow suit.
He said there had been 'a lot of interest' from other farmers who supported his idea.
Mr McIntyre plans to pay $60 of a $500 increase in his rates.
He said farmers had been 'hammered' ever since council amalgamations in 1995.
"We have been paying more than our fair share," Mr McIntyre said.
"The previous council bragged they were so efficient because they kept down the residential rates increase to only $60.
"This has got farmers' backs up.
"We don't want any more development to go ahead in Horsham.
"As farmers we are subsidising residential rates, either directly or indirectly, because all services are in Horsham.
"High rates put a financial strain on farmers.
"The rates take up a large proportion of our income, especially in the past nine years."
Mr McIntyre said farmers paid 27 per cent of council's rates revenue, taking into account a 10 per cent rates differential for farmers.
"The differential was five per cent, which was nothing, then it went up to 10 per cent," he said.
"Otherwise we would be paying more than 30 per cent of the rates."
Mr McIntyre said farmers should have a 30 per cent concession on their rates, which would mean they paid for about 18 per cent of rates collected.
"I'm just sick of it now," he said.
Wonwondah farmer Russell Heard and Brimpaen farmer Peter McGennisken said they supported Mr McIntyre's idea, but were unsure whether they would pay only a portion of their rates.
Victorian Farmers Federation vice-president David Jochinke, a Murra Warra farmer, said the federation shared Mr McIntyre's view that farmers were paying more than their fair share of council rates.
Mr Jochinke said he was also greatly concerned about councils continually increasing rates to stay afloat.
"When councils have to make six or seven per cent increases in rate returns each year, there is something wrong with the whole system," he said.
"It's unsustainable for shires, let alone ratepayers too.
"I would understand if rates were kept at the Consumer Price Index, but when rates go above that, something is not working.
"The State Government also promised a review into how councils were funded years ago, when councils amalgamated.
"This has not occurred yet."
Horsham Mayor David Grimble, a Brimpaen farmer, said he appreciated farmers' concerns.
"For council to provide the services that the community requires certainly extends the budget," he said.
"It's very difficult to come up with fair rates and we need to be financially sustainable.
"We should push for more state and federal government funding.
"Other tiers of government cost-shift a lot onto local government."
Council chief executive Peter Brown said the current council had not yet considered the issue of rates this year, but would discuss the issue as part of its planning for next financial year.
Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty encouraged people to comment on differential council rates by visiting www.dpcd.vic.gov.au before