Farm Bureau launches Eminent Domain Reform petition drive

After several attempts to get an eminent domain reform bill passed in the legislature, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) is now taking the issue to the people of Mississippi.

“For three years, Farm Bureau has urged legislators to protect homeowners and landowners from confiscation of their private property by eminent domain, but to no avail,” said MFBF President David Waide. “The 2009 Legislature passed H.B. 803, which prohibited the taking of private property under the guise of economic development for private development or business. Both House and Senate passed the bill, but the Governor vetoed it.”

Now, Farm Bureau has launched a petition drive to put this initiative on the November 2011 ballot. If this initiative passes, it will greatly discourage government entities from taking private property for economic development purposes by prohibiting its use for those purposes for ten years.

Waide urges citizens to sign the petition. “Anyone can go to a county Farm Bureau office and sign the petition or go to the SavingMyLand Web site (, print out a petition and sign it,” he said. “There is also a petition in the latest edition of Mississippi Farm Country magazine.”

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 5-4 decision in Kelo v. City of New London that a Connecticut city could take away people’s homes and turn the property over to a private party to develop the property for its own profit. The Court justified this result because the increased tax revenue on the developed property would benefit the public and the use of the property was, therefore, a public use.

Farm Bureau and many others disagree with this decision. “Just because a big company or a developer has the wealth to build a hotel or office building on the property that will generate more revenue does not justify the government’s taking the property from the owner and turning it over to a wealthier party,” Waide said. “Constitutional rights should not be determined by financial standards, or favor the wealthy over others.”

For more information about this initiative or to sign the petition, visit your county Farm Bureau office, go to, or sign the petition in the March edition of Mississippi Farm Country.

Farm Bureau Press Release