According to Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas Agriculture Daily, June 18 was just another day of work for farmers and ranchers across Texas. But for Hidalgo County cotton grower Mike England, it was the first day of cotton harvest.
Enough cotton was harvested that day to make two bales, earning England the honor of having the first official bale of cotton harvested in the U.S. in 2020. The cotton was delivered to Ross Gin Co. in Mercedes, TX for verification.
For the past 66 years, the nation’s first bale of cotton has been harvested in the Rio Grande Valley – an annual friendly competition between area farmers.
Once ginned, the bale will be delivered to the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce, where it will be certified by the Harlingen Cotton Committee. The bale will later be auctioned off at the city’s First Bale Auction and Scholarship Fundraiser. All proceeds from the annual event go toward scholarships for students to attend Texas State Technical College to pursue a degree in an agricultural-related field.