Keeping abreast of the latest technology, maintaining a talented and dedicated staff and understanding the importance of building relationships have enabled Alleghany Farm Services LLC to deliver on its motto: Digging In. Helping You Grow.
Chad Klotzbach, managing partner, on Thursday invited customers, community leaders and friends to learn more about what it takes to properly provide drainage to farmland – and also to enjoy some food and refreshments – during a Field Day event at their business at 7342 Alleghany Road, Basom.
“We figured after COVID. Everybody is planted at this point. Wheat hasn’t come off yet. So, it’s a good kind of beginning to the summer break for everyone to get out and have a bite to eat and check everything out,” Klotzbach said.
Invitations were sent to about 300 people, mostly customers, he said. The company’s customer base stretches across the state and also to Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont and, most recently, Maryland and Delaware.
Alleghany Services was founded in 1983 by Chad’s father, Drew, who continues on as a partner in the firm, which consists of multiple companies, with Alleghany Farm Services and Alleghany Construction as the two largest.
Last night’s event, which featured complimentary food from Center Street Smokehouse and beverage from 42 North Brewing Company – and live radio coverage by WCJW (CJ Country), highlighted the farming side of the operation.
“Our focus tonight is to educate people about drainage and the benefits and the various equipment we have to serve the customers – from our large tile plows to even our smallest one that services vineyards and orchards,” said Klotzbach, who started with the company in 2010 after graduating from Clarkson University and advanced to managing partner about two years ago.
With about 30 employees and millions of dollars in specialized (and computerized) equipment, Alleghany Farm Services has installed 20 million feet of pipe over the past 10 years – it’s up to 4 million feet a year now – and has more than doubled its size in the past five years.
Klotzbach said it is the largest business of its kind in the Northeast and was the first to incorporate Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology in drainage design and installation in the same region.
Operations Manager Christina Fetzer explained that field drainage consists primarily of three machines -- a tile plow, an excavator and a challenger tractor.
“Those three pieces of equipment work together to install the pipe in the ground,” said Fetzer, a Lancaster resident who has been with Alleghany Farm Services for about two years. “The tile plow is equipped with GPS and the entire field is designed ahead of time.”
A graduate of Canisius College with a master's in Business Administration, Fetzer said many factors go into the design of how the pipe is to be installed.
“There’s field elevation, crop type and soil type, and we take all of that into account ahead of time to have a custom design put in. That’s inputted into the machine via GPS to install in the field,” she said.
Klotzbach said it’s all about water management and configuring the pipe system to ensure maximum crop production.
“When you install subsurface drainage in a grid pattern, you’re controlling pretty much the water table,” he said. “You’re dealing with surface saturation so you can get on the crops earlier in the spring and same thing in the fall. If you get an inch of rain, you have a lower point of saturation in the soil. With the pipes behind able to take the water away, it just allows you to get on – you can do your spring, your plowing, whatever you’re needing with harvesting.”
Klotzbach, a Genesee County legislator representing the towns of Alabama and Oakfield, said the Alleghany Farm Services team continues with its customers after the job is done.
“It starts with our sales team and then we collect data and do extensive research in order to create the proper design,” he said. “We can install on average about 15,000 feet a day per machine. We stand by our work and remain in contact after projects are completed to make sure everything is performing correctly.”
For more information about Alleghany Farm Services and Alleghany Construction, send an email to [email protected] or call (585) 762-4411.
Photos, from top to bottom:
-- Two-year-old (almost 3) Weston Passamonte enjoys a few moments in the driver's seat of a full-size tile plow during Thursday's Field Day event. The boy's father, Joe, works for Alleghany Farm Services.
-- Chad and Drew Klotzbach.
-- Genesee County Legislature Chair Rochelle Stein, left, and Legislatore Marianne Clattenburg stand next to a vineyard plow. The vineyard plow is only seven feet wide, which enables it to go between existing grape rows and narrow orchard rows.
-- The cabin of the large tile plow, complete with GPS, cameras and other technology to ensure the proper drainage system design and installation.
-- Chad Klotzbach and a group of his customers with a stack of tiling in the background.
Photos by Mike Pettinella.