She grew up on a farm near Thurmont, where she started showing Brown Swiss — an American breed of dairy cattle — with one of her sisters in her early teenage years with the 4-H program. She’s been one of the dairy industry’s most ardent advocates ever since, first working as a communications manager for Sire Power in Pennsylvania and later establishing a Brown Swiss herd with her late husband in 1988.
Last month, Long Warner was recognized for her contributions to the field when she was inducted into the Maryland Dairy Shrine, a statewide organization that highlights the achievements of those who work in the dairy industry. It felt like the pinnacle of her career, she said.
“It was a very overwhelming and surprising honor to me, because I don’t do this for awards,” she said.
Instead, she said, being involved in the industry — more specifically in the artificial insemination arena — has always felt more like a way of life for her. Her childhood on a dairy farm made her the person she is today. It was a simple and beautiful life, she said. Baling hay in 90-degree weather and milking cows twice per day never felt like a chore to her or her family.
Long Warner graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in journalism and a minor in rural education. She went on to breed and develop several Brown Swiss All-American winners and nominees with her husband, earning her the nickname, “cow queen.” Many of the calves from the Mid-Atlantic Brown Swiss Calf Sale — which Long Warner has chaired for more than 20 years — have gone on to be named All-Americans and win national shows.
In a summary of their sister’s accomplishments for her induction to the Maryland Dairy Shrine, Becky Long Chaney and Karen Long Cole wrote that Long Warner has devoted her life to the dairy community — “not only to the cows she so loves but to the friends in the industry she adores.”
“There are young and old who simply refer to her as ‘Miss Cindy’ in the collection of emails and letters she’s received over the years thanking her for getting them established in the Swiss business,” they wrote. “She has helped ignite a burning flame in so many and then continues to nurture that love and respect for Brown Swiss and the dairy community as a whole.”
These days, Long Warner identifies as more of a “dabbler” in the dairy industry — she no longer makes her living on a dairy farm but does what she can to help dairy farmers promote their product. She emphasized how important it is that young people become involved in the industry and congratulated the students who were awarded scholarships from the Maryland Dairy Shrine this year.
Long Warner added that she attributes much of the success to the people who mentored her through the 4-H program and who she met through dairy judging.
“I’m so blessed with great people around me,” she said. “I think timing has a lot of things to do with where you go and how you get there … If things line up pretty good, things turn out pretty good for you.”