Food and Agriculture Policy Intern

Location: Washington, DC

Who we are

The Breakthrough Institute (BTI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that seeks innovative solutions to environmental and human development challenges in pursuit of a secure, healthier, and more prosperous future. BTI fosters a culture of aspirational, disruptive, and yet evidence-based thinking, and mission-driven, pragmatic problem solving. In our 15+ year history, we have shaped how policymakers, environmental groups, and other thought leaders view climate change, nuclear power, agricultural innovation, international energy development, and other key issues.

Breakthrough is seeking a policy intern for the Food and Agriculture team program, which researches and advocates for ways to raise agricultural productivity and reduce the food system’s carbon footprint while mitigating other environmental impacts. The policy intern will assist with the development of policy proposals and coordinate outreach to policymakers and stakeholders. The policy intern will gain insight into US federal politics, the federal policymaking process, and key stakeholders with interests in environmental and agricultural policies.

The policy intern will report to the Federal Policy Manager for Food and Agriculture and interact with other members of Breakthrough’s Food and Agriculture team as needed. The internship is paid and will run from approximately September to December 2023.

Key Responsibilities

  • Learn Breakthrough’s policy priorities, including those that aim to bolster federal agricultural R&D programs and advance opportunities for livestock and food innovation to contribute to climate mitigation, and more.

  • Assist with research, writing, and circulation of public letters, op-eds, blog posts, and policy memos.

  • Track policy opportunities, new legislation, appropriations developments, and Farm Bill updates.

  • Conduct background research on Members of Congress, legislation, and stakeholder groups.

  • Develop and publish a series of blog post “explainers” that detail federal research, rural development, and trade programs that serve to further Breakthrough’s priorities.

  • Schedule meetings with policymakers, environmental organizations, and agricultural stakeholders, and provide notetaking support.

  • Attend Congressional hearings and meetings with climate and agricultural coalitions, USDA staff, and Congressional staff as needed.

Desired Qualifications

  • Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science, public policy, government, environmental studies, or another relevant field.

  • Strong verbal and written communications skills.

  • Experience writing for non-technical audiences.

  • Interest in federal environmental, climate or agricultural policy.

  • Experience conducting policy advocacy, communications, or research.

  • Willingness to develop, advocate for, and promote policy solutions that are both pragmatic and bipartisan.

  • A team player who is self-motivated and detail oriented.

Job Conditions

  • The internship is located in Washington, D.C.

  • 10–20 hours per week is preferred, but Breakthrough is open to candidates seeking more or fewer hours.

  • Some evening time may be required depending on events and other job-related work outside of the office.

  • All employees must receive the full course of vaccinations and boosters for COVID-19.


Breakthrough pays a stipend to all interns. If you would like to receive credit in addition to or in lieu of the stipend, please consult with your department head or academic advisor.

Application Instructions

We encourage you to submit materials as soon as possible. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the application will close on Sept. 1, 2023.

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Please do not submit your application directly through alternate job sites (ie. LinkedIn, Indeed, etc).

  • Your email subject should say: “<Your Name>: Food and Agriculture Policy Intern”

  • Your email should state how you heard about this position.

  • Your cover letter should reflect on Breakthrough’s work and how you could contribute.

  • Your writing sample should reflect food, agriculture, climate, or related topics. This could be an excerpt from a research paper of which you are the sole author, a blog post, a policy memo, etc. Writing samples that discuss and analyze policies, legislation, regulations, or federal programs are preferred but not required.

Breakthrough does not shy away from contentious domestic and international political issues and from advocating for equity, justice, democracy, and human rights. We welcome candidates who bring varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds, and who are eager to learn about many ways of viewing the world. Our goal is to create a community that is rich with cultural, social, and intellectual diversity.