It is time to hear and heed the voices of Rural America, to give due respect to the contributions of rural American families and communities that have fed and fueled our nation for generations. Rural America produces the natural resources that make our country strong, provides stewardship of our food, our lands, and our waters, and is bedrock to American prosperity. Southern Mutual Help Association, Inc. (SMHA) is a comprehensive community development corporation with a half-century of experience listening to, learning from and working with rural families and communities. We have experience identifying and removing policy/regulatory barriers that impede small town prosperity, a track record of creating institutions when needed to fill community gaps, and a proven history of implementing innovative strategies for "rebuilding Louisiana better than before.” We have demonstrated time and time again our ability to build bridges where before there were walls, to create safe spaces where unlikely partners gather over common ground and a shared agenda. Our nation needs such expertise today, now more than ever.