A farmer in Hull, Iowa. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Regarding Art Cullen’s Feb. 13 Wednesday Opinion essay, “Help wanted: Rural America needs immigrants”:

Immigrants should be welcomed to both rural and urban America. But they shouldn’t be considered as the hired help to fill in the holes dug by those responsible for economic development. Immigrants are willing to take jobs Americans aren’t, and many are happy to do so because they see the glass as half-full, not half-empty. A job in a meatpacking plant or as a cafeteria worker is an opportunity to take a step up the ladder.

Rural America needs more visionary strategies that build on unrealized potential, especially entrepreneurial talent. Rural areas suffer brain drain because those responsible for staking out paths to the future are focused on establishing industrial parks or commiserating over long-lost industry that will never be resuscitated. It’s time to stop ignoring the potential of rural Americans and start building value propositions where those brains can be meaningfully and effectively applied, turning into constructive choices for action that can attract investment with a positive, inclusive and sustainable impact.

Astrid Ruiz Thierry, Manassas