First bale of cotton delivered

HARLINGEN — The official certified first bale of cotton in the United States was delivered to Chris Breedlove at Willacy Co-op in Sebastian this past week.

The bale was delivered by Wesley Vanderpool at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The seed cotton weighed in at 2,040 pounds.

The FiberMax 2007GLT cotton variety was grown and picked in Hidalgo County about 3 miles west of La Joya. Wesley Vanderpool will receive a reward of $3,000.

Once ginned, the bale of cotton will be delivered to the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Cotton grown in the Rio Grande Valley is shipped across the state and the U.S. and is exported to numerous countries overseas. Agriculture represents about one quarter of the area’s economy.

“The industry is not only important to the actual farmers, it also benefits the consumers,” said Harlingen Cotton Committee Chairman, Sam Simmons, Jr.

Harlingen has auctioned the first bale of cotton grown in the United States since 1953 and this year will not be different. The Harlingen Cotton Committee has verified that the nation’s first bale of cotton was grown in the Rio Grande Valley for 65 years. This year celebrates the 2018 cotton crop with a First Bale Auction & Scholarship Fundraiser at the TSTC Cultural Arts Center on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Along with auctioning off the first bale, the Harlingen Cotton Committee will be awarding scholarship money to students attending Texas State Technical College to pursue a degree in an agricultural-related field. TSTC Lozano Long Opportunity Scholarship will match those funds to support agriculture students in the Rio Grande Valley.

“Our goal is to continue to serve the agricultural community of the Rio Grande Valley and support and inspire students to take an active role in this field, said Simmons. “This event has grown tremendously over the years, and it will continue to do so.”

Event information is available on the Harlingen Cotton Committee’s Facebook page. For more information about the first bale of cotton, contact Chamber Vice President, Vanessa Camacho, at or call the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce at 956-423-5440.