Farms We’ve Protected

clapp family farm

Pompey, NY

Phil Clapp rests easy in Florida with his wife Norma knowing that his family farm is protected by a conservation easement back home in Pompey, New York. While he worked off the farm for his whole adult life, he still understood the value of preserving the land for agriculture and for his family.

The 180-acre Clapp Family Farm was purchased in 1914 by Phil’s grandparents, Roy and Inez Clapp. The now century old farm was a dairy and crops operation from the beginning, with around 40 milking cows at any given time. Phil’s father Ralph was born on the farm and took over when his grandfather retired in the early 50’s. Ralph and his wife Bettie operated the farm until 2005. Phil recalls that his father and grandfather were both progressive in their farming for the times. For example, his father did not like horses and therefore got into working with tractors before a lot of other farmers. He was also one of the first farmers to switch from using milk cans to bulk tanks, which soon after led to the installation of a milk pipeline on the farm.

Phil lived out his childhood on the farm and loved working for his father between his schooling. In high school he was really into farming and enjoyed going to the barn in the mornings before school. When school was out, he would do tractor and field work, which was his favorite. He went to SUNY Morrisville, a college known for its agriculture programs, with the idea of taking over the farm from his father someday – but plans changed. Phil and his wife took a step back and decided they wanted a lifestyle with less work hours and financial risk than farming, so he went into the grocery business instead.

Nevertheless, the farm was passed on to Phil when his father passed away in 2005. Living in Jamesville at the time, Phil decided to leave the dairy operation behind and focus on leasing the land out for cropping. This is how his relationship with Dan Palladino of neighboring Palladino Carley Farms LLC began. Dan Palladino and his partner Dan Diamond are now the primary renters of the land and grow hay, corn, and soybeans. It was Dan who had the idea for Palladino Carley Farms LLC, Clapp Family Farm, and Way Family Farm (another adjacent farm) to join forces in applying for a conservation easement across all three properties. Phil had heard about this method for protecting farmland before and thought it was a great idea – with more land together in one package, they all had a better chance of being approved for the easement. 

By the time the conservation easement was finished in 2017, Phil and Norma were already living in Florida for half of the year. Now they live there year round, but their two children are still local and involved in the farm. His son lives in the farmhouse on the property, and his daughter lives just around the corner. They both love the privacy and proximity to nature that living in the country affords them. The farm has 10 acres of woods in the back, where they go deer hunting and snowmobiling. His kids will be the next generation to inherit the land someday.

Reflecting on the choice to sell their development rights for the conservation easement, Phil thinks it was a really good move and he doesn’t have any regrets. “I would recommend it to anyone thinking about it,” he said. “It conserves farmland for farmland, and you make a little money on it.”  Phil hopes the farm will continue to be used as cropland, and he appreciates the way the Palladino’s have stewarded the land all these years. After all, with 87% of the farm consisting of Prime or Statewide Important Soils, the highly productive land is an asset to the agricultural community. Phil has ensured it remains that way for generations to come.