Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican who was elected in last November’s general election to succeed Spell, is serving her third term in the Mississippi Senate, where she was the author of numerous pieces of legislation to benefit agriculture and the state’s farmers.

She has been a supporter of Right to Farm legislation, a leader in promoting and protecting agriculture and defending private property rights, and has compiled a pro-business voting record.

The passage of the Initiative 31 eminent domain measure was “a historic achievement in Mississippi legislation,” she says. “It marked the first time in our state’s history that a constitutional amendment was passed at the ballot box.

“There have been 37 initiatives filed with the Secretary of State over the years; of those, only two have made it to the ballot, and both failed to get enough votes for passage.”

The required number of petition signatures to get Initiative 31 on the ballot was 89,285, Hyde-Smith notes. “Farm Bureau collected well over 600,000 signatures, which is phenomenal! Over 70 percent of voters casting ballots in last November’s general election said they favor stronger private property rights.

“The agriculture vote on this issue has brought respect for farming in Mississippi to a whole new level and carved a significant notch into the measuring stick of state politics. “Everyone has stood up and taken notice of the power of Farm Bureau and the state’s farmers. The hands on the wheels of the pickup trucks and tractors in Mississippi rocked our opponents’ world on Nov. 8.”

Voter groups are always being categorized, Hyde-Smith says: “There’s the white vote, the black vote, the teacher vote, the Baptist vote, the female vote, and on and on. Well, we made our mark with the Initiative 31 vote, and now the politicians know that whoever can carry the ag vote has a 70 percent-plus head start. Farmers care about issues — and they vote.”

Agriculture is “experiencing some good times now in the ag world, she says.

“Record high prices for crops and livestock will boost U.S. farm income by 19 percent this year, for the first time topping $100 billion. Rising demand for food around the world, favorable exchange rates, and tight supplies have boosted U.S. commodity prices and attracted investors in the futures market and in farmland.

“Mississippi farmers, among the nation’s most productive, are well-positioned to capitalize on this situation,’ Hyde-Smith says.