Nation’s first cotton bale sells for $16,500, all for scholarships

HARLINGEN — It was another successful year for the first bale of cotton in the nation.

It sold for $16,500 including add-ons and a $3,000 dollar donation at the First Bale Auction and Scholarship Fundraiser on Sept. 22.

The official certified first bale of cotton in the United States was delivered to Ross Gin Co. by Tommy Hanka of Tommy Hanka Farms, LLC. The bale was sold to Texas Farm Credit, Bayer CropScience and Wilbur-Ellis Company for $11,000.

Add-ons starting at $1,000 were contributed by Ross Gin Co. and Fred Traylor.

Tommy Hanka Farms, LLC received the $3,000 reward from the Harlingen Cotton Committee for the first bale, weighing 1,880 pounds. Janie Hanka donated the $3,000 reward back to the first bale of cotton on behalf of her husband, Tommy, during the event.

The Harlingen Cotton Committee, along with matching funds from the Lozano-Long Foundation, has donated roughly $60,000 to students attending the Agricultural Technology Program at TSTC.

This year the Harlingen Cotton Committee presented a check of $10,000 to TSTC representatives during the event. The TSTC Texan Success Scholarship and the Lozano-Long Foundation will match those funds, bringing the total scholarship to $30,000 to support students actively pursuing a degree in an agricultural-related field.

For more than 40 years, the Algodón Club of Harlingen has held a silent auction to raise funds for additional scholarships awarded to graduating high school students pursuing a degree in agriculture in Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties.

This year the Algodón Club awarded $21,000 for the 2016-2017 school year to the following scholarship recipients: Victoria Burns, Tristen Cruz, Kenneth Miller, Bailey Scogin, Morgan Thomas and Bruce Waters.

The final ginned and baled cotton was delivered to Casa Del Sol and auctioned at the event.

Titanium Sponsors of the event were Boggus Ford, Capital Farm Credit, First Community Bank and Texas National Bank. Gold Sponsors of the event were Bob & Patty Duncan, Crop Guard Group Inc., Gulf Compress, Bob Duncan and Thomas Woolam of RGV Gin Co. LLC, Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association, Texas Regional Bank and Wylie Implement & Spray Center.

For more information about the First Bale Auction & Scholarship Fundraiser, contact the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce at 956-423-5440.