PUBLISHED: OCT 15TH, 2019 – 13 WTHR
Tuesday afternoon, Jim Trietsch did something that hasn’t happened in Indiana for more than 80 years.
Equipped with garden shears and his two sons by his side, Trietsch is now commercially harvesting a large field full of hemp in Owen County, and he’s been waiting for this moment for a long time.
“We’re excited to get in here and finally start harvesting,” he told WTHR. “It’s been a really long year.”
The farmer jumped at the opportunity to convert 60 acres of fields previously used to grow soybeans and blue corn into a new home for hemp. Trietsch planted 130,000 hemp plants in four separate fields this spring and will spend several weeks harvesting the green, bushy crop. It is part of the first commercially hemp crop now spreading across Indiana as Hoosier farmers join a booming hemp industry that offers huge reward and risk.
Trietsch is a recently-retired Noblesville firefighter with a background in agriculture. His father left farming years ago for construction, but always kept a few cows around. Trietsch now raises a large herd of beef cattle in Hamilton County and passed his knack for farming to his sons.