OPINION  The following is in response to the continued spread of COVID-19 – the coronavirus – in the United States, and to its potential impact on domestic and international markets.

As the organization representing U.S. dairy farmers and the cooperatives they own, the National Milk Producers Federation stands ready to assist its members in addressing coronavirus challenges. From possible damages to domestic and world markets, to supply-chain labor disruptions on the farm, at the processing plant or in transporting milk, the potential ramifications for dairy are wide-ranging. We will devote our resources to the best of our ability to helping dairy farmers and cooperatives respond to whatever challenges they may face.

The good news is that the U.S. dairy supply is safe, and production of excellent-quality products continues unimpeded. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that heat treatment kills other coronaviruses, so pasteurization is expected to also inactivate this virus. In addition there is no evidence that this strain of coronavirus is present in domestic livestock such as cattle.

Still all producers will remain vigilant as what has now been labeled a pandemic continues its path. We will continue to answer questions and offer information to help our members. Policy solutions also may be needed for producers whose operations have been affected by the virus. In keeping with our mission of serving our members, regardless of the challenge, we will work with lawmakers and regulators to ensure a safe and adequate supply of milk and to mitigate potential economic harm to dairy farmers.

Jim Mulhern is the president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, which develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. Its member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk. Visit www.nmpf.org for more information.