Nation’s first cotton bale sign of good harvest

HARLINGEN — More than two cotton-picking days paid off for Tommy Hanka.

Thursday morning, Hanka pulled into Ross Gin Co. with 1,880 pounds of cotton — the first bale harvested this season in the United States.

Hanka picked the first cotton bale about two weeks earlier than usual, said Brady Taubert, chairman of the Harlingen Cotton Committee.

“It’s earlier than any of us anticipated,” Taubert said yesterday. “We figured, with all the rain we had it would push it back a couple of weeks. It’s a pleasant surprise.”

For Hanka, it’s the first time he’s picked the first bale.

“It was a challenge to get in the field,” said Hanka, who grew his crop in Edinburg.

Hanka said it took 15 workers more than two days to hand-pick the cotton.

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