THE dairy industry is in revolt, with farmer protests spreading nationwide.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend a rally in northern Victoria today.
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More meetings will be held in Warrnambool tomorrow and Mt Gambier in South Australia on Tuesday.
Others are scheduled for Perth and at Hahndorf, South Australia, while talks are under way about a meeting in Gippsland.
Farmers and supporters are today tipped to pack the Tongala Public Hall to build the momentum which has drawn national attention to the plight of the dairy industry.
Farmer Power co-founder Chris Gleeson said: "The industry is in crisis, we are taking calls from people all over Australia who are now planning meetings of their own.
"My phone has not stopped ringing. This is a grass-roots revolt and no one can stop it."
Entrepreneur Dick Smith will join Opposition regional development and water spokesman Barnaby Joyce at today's Tongala meeting at 10.30am.
Federal Opposition agriculture spokesman John Cobb will address a dairy forum in Warrnambool tomorrow night.
Senator Joyce said it was perfect timing for the dairy industry to make a noise. "The time that you get movement on an issue like this is just before a election," he said.
Some farmers will take children out of school today to attend the protest as a family.
Stockfeed supplier, councillor and speaker at the Tongala meeting, Robert Danieli, expects lots of families.
"It is the wives who mostly do the books and that wouldn't be a happy task," he said.
"Goulburn Valley farmers are not spending money, no one is in a good space."
Steve Hawken of Bamawm will dress one-year-old son Henry as a cow at Tongala. "It's a family business, if we don't make a noise now there'll be nothing left if they (children) want to carry on," he said.
Campaspe Shire mayor and livestock agent Ian Maddison, also speaking at Tongala, said: "There is a terrible uncertainty in rural industries."
State member for Rodney Paul Weller said "We need to look at what will provide a sustainable industry."
He said his milk prices had fallen 10 per cent in the past year while grain prices and power costs had risen fast.
Tongala meeting organiser Nigel Hicks said he expected to have an overflow of people from the town hall, which can seat 350-500 people. "Local interest is high," he said.
Senator Joyce said Tongala's meeting would raise hopes of an assistance package to bail out farmers.
"That is last-resort stuff, people generally only get compensation if they are finished," he said.
"We want more importantly to make sure the industry is healthy and farmers are not being exploited."