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Zoltenko Farms and the Wildcat blockchain

Melanie and Lannin Zoltenko
Melanie and Lannin Zoltenko

RON WILSON
Hack Boyd National Institute for Rural Development

“We deliver the man.” No, I don’t mean the US Postal Service.

In this case, it refers to a business that supplies selected male genetics for pork production in the Midwest. The same innovative farming family also mines blockchain and bitcoin from their location in rural Kansas.

Lannin Zoltenko is President and Managing Partner of Zoltenko Farms and Wildcat Blockchain. His family’s farm is in Jewell County, just one mile from the Nebraska border. Five generations of the family have lived here. In 2017, the farm became the farm of the century.

Zoltenko’s relatives are James and Cheryl Zoltenko. Lannin and his wife Melanie have two sons: Chandler, who is a farmer, and Taran, who is a student at Kansas State University, which is also her father’s alma mater.

For decades, Zoltenko had a traditional multi-purpose livestock farm that raised cattle, grains and pigs. Pig production was carried out from farrowing to fattening, which meant that males (boars) were crossed with females (sows), which gave birth to piglets, which were then grown to marketable weight.

In 1997, Zoltenko considered returning to the collective farm. His parents struggled to decide whether to retire or expand.

In December of that year, they received a request from the Pig Improvement Company, or PIC, which was looking for a 50 head boar breeding farm in north central Kansas. It would be like a racehorse stud farm, only with pigs. This company was looking for a place where they could raise selected male pigs to collect semen for artificial insemination of sows by other pig producers.

Goldens decided to try. “It was a real walk of faith,” said Lannin Zoltenko. He thanks veterinarians Steve Henry and Lisa Tokach of Abilene Veterinary Hospital for their key assistance in starting the operation.

“By February 1998 there were no more sows, and by May there were boars,” Zoltenko said. They developed a process for semen collection and distribution to other breeders and adopted the slogan “We deliver the male”.

Today, the Zoltenko farm has 1,382 boars, most of which are in Kansas. Because herd health and biosecurity are so important, their rural location is an advantage. The farm is located 17 miles north of the rural community of Cortland, population 294. Here is the countryside.

For sires seeking maternal qualities of good litter size and high milk production, the Large White and Landrace breeds are preferred. For those producers who raise pigs for harvest, the Duroc and Berkshire pig breeds are preferred.

Sperm from high quality Zoltenko boars can serve up to 300,000 sows per year. The farm operates 11 hog shipping routes to producers in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota and Illinois. “Our drivers will drive a million miles a year,” Zoltenko said.

In 2020, Zoltenko began to engage in another enterprise, as they looked towards the national economy. “I was looking for good money,” Zoltenko said. They decided to focus on bitcoin and bitcoin mining.

Bitcoin is a type of cryptocurrency or digital money. According to Investopedia, bitcoin is created, distributed, traded, and stored using a decentralized ledger system called a blockchain. In February 2021, the Zoltenkos founded a business known as Wildcat Blockchain.

Bitcoin mining is the process of creating new bitcoins by solving extremely complex mathematical problems that validate transactions in a currency. It requires high computer power. “We are looking for substations that have unused electrical capacity, and we are creating bitcoin data centers there,” Zoltenko said.

As these computers solve math problems, bitcoin is generated for the discoverers. “We have clients from California to Florida,” he said.

“Our greatest success lies in positively impacting the lives of our team members, our partners and our community.”

For more information about the stud farm, visit www.zfistud.com.

We supply male – in this case male genetics – to the leading pork producers in the Midwest. We thank Lannin Zoltenko and everyone associated with Zoltenko Farms and Wildcat Blockchain for their innovation and entrepreneurship.

They will deliver for sure.

Written by khirou

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