Bill J. Cleavenger (1931-1997) served the Texas and national sugarbeet industry for over thirty years. He was a farmer and rancher in Wildorado, Texas beginning in 1954. He began to raise beets in 1964, was elected to the Texas Sugarbeet Board in 1974, and served as President from 1978 to 1996.
He was Texas representative to the American Sugarbeet Growers Association Board from 1982 to 1987, and was elected President in 1987 and 1989. One of his life’s most fervent efforts was the education of the general public, government officials, both U.S. and foreign and the media about the benefits of U.S. Sugar policy. He was a well-respected spokesman for sugar farmers, whether presenting testimony to the United States Congress or a speech to a local Rotary Club.
Through the Bill J. Cleavenger Internship, the ASGA establishes a living and lasting tribute in honor and memory of all that Bill did for this industry. Mr. Cleavinger’s sense of duty to this association and to his country went far beyond his term as president. Following his example, this internship is designed to encourage students from sugarbeet producing areas to become active in the political process. Recognizing that the political support base for the sugar industry is a culture of small family farming communities, the hope for this internship is to inspire future generations to communicate their heritage and values to members of Congress.
Interns work full time assisting the ASGA staff on a variety of tasks including those associated with administrative, legislative and trade issues. A research project will be designed to meet the intern’s interests and goals. Other requirements include keeping a journal of their activities and writing a report to the ASGA Board Members upon completion of the internship. This requirement is an addition to any required work necessary to earn college course credit, if pursued. Dress in Washington, DC is business professional, and interns will be required to conform to those standards.
Throughout the internship, the student will participate in a variety of tasks necessary to the functionality of an association. The intern will participate in discussions of negotiation and strategy of trade policy, public relations and Hill activities. He/she will work with ASGA staff on the Political Action Committee, meeting planning, Association administration and finance. Special projects will be determined on an as-needed basis.
There are many intern-centered organizations and volunteer opportunities in the DC area, and we encourage our interns to get involved. Visiting historical sites and museums in the area is important to the overall intern experience, therefore a tour of the U.S. Capitol will be arranged, as well as any other tours that are available. Interns typically meet several members of congress on this internship and gain an understanding of the political process under the wing of one of the world’s most effective lobbying organizations.
Through the use of this fund, the American Sugarbeet Growers Association will be able to assist students to enable them to take advantage of this opportunity. The selected applicant for the internship will receive a scholarship that will help pay for travel and housing expenses.
The term of internship will be between June through August and last 8 weeks. The starting and ending dates will be defined based on the needs of the applicant and ASGA.
It is hoped that the program will inspire interns to choose a career in agriculture and use their knowledge and leadership skills to make a difference for the American farmers.