Farms We’ve Protected


Way family farm

Pompey, NY

Mary Way is adamant that farmland should be preserved in her county and beyond. “People don’t realize how important farmland is, or how important farmers are, period” she said. During her 60 years living in the rural parts of Pompey, NY, she has bared witness to the gradual change in her surroundings – an individual lot here, a housing development there, all while smaller farms disappear. A small farm itself, Mary and her late husband Bruce had always wanted to find a path to protecting the 150-acre Way Family Farm.

Historically, the Way Family Farm has been passed down through the generations of Mary’s in-laws. Bruce’s grandparents first settled on the property before passing it onto his parents. They were a dairy operation until Bruce’s father decided to get rid of the cows in the mid-60’s. Since then, the land has been leased to Palladino Farms for growing crops such as hay, corn, and soybeans.

As a neighboring farmer and friend of the Ways, Dan Palladino of Palladino Farms proposed the idea of joining together to apply for one large conservation easement, also to include the adjacent Clapp Family Farm. The Way, Palladino, and Clapp families have worked together for over 30 years, and by teaming up they gave each farm a better chance of being approved for an easement. The families were successful in creating a block of over 600 acres of protected farmland in the community – with all 150 acres of the Way Family Farm included.

Mary is looking forward to passing the farm down to her 7 children, who grew up working on farms just like their father. It is beautifully situated on top of the hill in Pompey, NY. In addition to great soils, the land contains 2 woodlots where her kids enjoy making maple syrup for the family. She hopes it will stay in the family for generations to come and that the land remains productive farmland. She knows that her sister-in-law Nancy who co-owns the property feels the same way. Mary has always liked being a part of the farming community and she is happy that her farm’s protection will help preserve the agricultural heritage of the county.


Interview and story by Jessie Smith