THE Victorian Farmers Federation wants Wimmera farmers to back a call for a State Government inquiry into council rates.
The federation believes council rates unfairly hit Victorian farmers, who now pay $180 million in rates each year.
VFF Wimmera branch president Ross Johns said the region's farmers were paying about $3 or $4 an acre or $8 to $10 a hectare in council rates.
"I think this is a particularly important issue for farmers because a lot of farmers across the region, and across the state, are concerned," he said.
"Council rates are increasing at alarming speeds and I know of some farmers who are paying up to $100,000 for about a 25,000-acre farm.
"That is the scale that these broad-acre farms need to be for them just to remain viable."
Mr Johns said the major issue was that farmers were paying higher rates but not seeing an infrastructure return for their dollar.
"Farmers are business people and they like getting efficient services for the expenses they incur and what appears to be happening is that we are getting higher council rates with lower returns," he said.
"In Yarriambiack Shire last year, $7 million was spent on roads and in council's budget documents for 2014-15 year the forecast is that only $4.5 million will be spent on roads.
"I think an independent review would be the best option to see whether councils are providing the infrastructure needs of rural and regional Australia."
Mr Johns encouraged farmers to sign a petition against high council rates at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days.
McKenzie Creek farmer Neville McIntyre paid $60 of a $480 rate increase this year in protest against the fees. He said $60 was the average urban rate rise in Horsham Rural City last year.
He said farmers were beginning to lobby their councils for better rate conditions.
"I was prepared to go it alone but I know of at least one other farmer who is not paying all his rates," he said.
"Farmers in the past have been reluctant to take any protest action against their council and just pay up regardless of how much they are being charged.
"Now there is an increasing movement and we believe that we are being ripped off and that we are paying far too much."
VFF grains president and Rupanyup farmer Andrew Weidemann said he wanted to see fairness and equality for farmers in the distribution of council rates.
"It is effectively another land tax and in that way we are paying an unfair burden of rates," he said.
"In a lot of cases farmers who are running on a negative income are still forced to pay rates."
Rural Councils Victoria chairman and Hindmarsh Mayor Rob Gersch said it was not financially viable for many rural councils to cut rates.
"I don't disagree that the rating system needs to be reviewed but it is a very difficult and complex problem," he said.
"The problem is that if there was a discount for farmers, councils would need a certain number of dollars to compensate that.
"In Hindmarsh Shire Council's case a third of our budget comes from rates so we are not in a position to lower rates because we wouldn't survive.
"Unless state and federal funding comes forth I wouldn't know how we would come up with the money to compensate for lower rates."