The concept of eminent domain has been around since the establishment of our constitution.

It's the power of a local government to take land from a private individual when it is necessary for the public good — like highways, schools, and utilities. But a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court ruling has made it legal for governments to take land from private landowners for the sole purpose of economic development — things like shopping malls.

Does that scare you? It should! When the definition of the public good is expanded to include things like private development to increase the tax base, your property is at risk!

The dream of owning and retaining property should not hang in jeopardy.

Protecting private property rights is a priority of the Mississippi Farm Bureau. Please join me and the members of our Farm Bureau family in supporting private property rights. Contact your Mississippi legislator and ask him or her to vote for the eminent domain legislation that is before them.

Mississippi is one of only eight states that have failed to enact a single bill improving landowners' rights to own property. It's time to act now!