House Republicans meet tonight to hear from the latest nine candidates for speaker. Majority Whip Tom Emmer, who’s seen as the leader of the group, has the backing of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“This is not a time for a learning experience as speaker. Tom would be able to walk into the job and do it on day one,” McCarthy said of Emmer on NBC’s Meet the Press.

The other candidates include Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, the GOP’s largest ideological caucus, and Austin Scott of Georgia, who chairs a House Agriculture subcommittee.

Republicans plan to vote Tuesday on a new nominee, who will still have to get 217 votes on the floor if all Democrats are present and vote for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

By the way: McCarthy wouldn’t rule out returning to the speakership if his colleagues want him. But he insisted, “I don't need the title. I'm going to help in any way I can.”

For more on the speaker’s race, read our Washington Week Ahead

Boozman: Farmers need certainty with farm bill extension

With no action in sight on a new farm bill, the top Republican on the Senate Ag Committee says lawmakers are going to have to provide farmers and bankers with “certainty” about what policies are going to be in place in 2024. Sen. John Boozman said at a farm bill listening session in Missouri on Friday that a year-long extension is probably needed.

He suggested the extension could be attached to a funding bill that will be needed next month to avert a government shutdown.

China approval gives boost to BASF’s GM canola 

The announcement last week from China’s National Agriculture Biosafety Committee that it has approved BASF’s submission of a genetically modified canola variety is welcome news to the company.

“BASF is pleased to have recently received Chinese approval for its MS11 event,” a spokesman for the company told Agri-Pulse in a statement. “This event confers both male sterility and glufosinate tolerance in canola … and has already received approvals in key countries like the United States, Canada, and Australia. With this approval, we are one step closer to commercialization as we continue to work to gain additional regulatory approvals in other key countries.”

Avian flu identified in northwest Iowa turkey flock

The USDA confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Buena Vista County, Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the last HPAI detection at a commercial facility was in January of this year in the same county. 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a disaster proclamation which allows state resources from Iowa Homeland Security, the IDALS and other agencies to “assist with tracking and monitoring, rapid detection, containment, disposal and disinfection.” 

Earlier this month, the American Farm Bureau Federation reported the cost of purchasing a turkey this Thanksgiving could be lower due to the drop in avian influenza cases and a recovery of the turkey population following the high number of farms depopulated due to HPAI in 2022. AFBF economists projected that the price for an 8-to-16-pound turkey was $1.27 per pound in August 2023, 22% lower than the same time last year. 

Louis Dreyfus Co. planning Ohio soybean crush, refining plant

Agriculture and food processor Louis Dreyfus Company plans to build a new soybean processing plant in Upper Sandusky Ohio.

The plant, according to a press release will have an annual soy crushing capacity of 1.5 million metric tons and a soybean oil production capacity of 320,000 metric tons. It would employ over 100 people, the company said.

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Construction on the project is set to begin in 2024.

Front-of-package labeling public meeting scheduled for November 16

The Food and Drug Administration continues its work on developing a front-of-package labeling system to help consumers quickly see nutritional information. In a recent blog, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf says front-of-package labeling “has the potential to be one of the most momentous changes to food labeling since the Nutrition Facts label.” Newly appointed FDA Deputy Commissioner of Human Foods Jim Jones also identified work on the labeling as key to the agency’s work in helping consumers make better food choices. 

FDA is currently conducting consumer research to understand the impact of different potential options of front-of-package labels. Califf says the research will help inform FDA’s next steps as part of a planned proposed rule. In addition, the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA says it plans to host a public meeting on November 16 to hear from stakeholders. 

She said it: “Suck it up buttercup.” – Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R- Iowa, defending her decision not to vote for Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to be Speaker of the House. Miller-Meeks, who was quoted by the Des Moines Register, went on to say at a fundraiser: “I am never going to quit fighting for Iowa, and I am never going to quit fighting for this country. So if you think you can intimidate me, go … suck it up, buttercup!"

Philip Brasher, Jacqui Fatka and Noah Wicks contributed to this report. Questions, comments, tips? Email