England Farms of Mercedes delivers first bales of 2020

Special to the Star

HARLINGEN — England Farms of Mercedes was the first cotton grower in the state, country and world to bring in the first two bales of cotton for the 2020 harvest season. The new crop arrived at Ross Gin Co in Mercedes on June 18 at 10:37 a.m., and the first two bales weighed 484 pounds and 543 pounds, respectively.

Once ginned, the cotton will be transported to the Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce where it will be certified by the Harlingen Cotton Committee and then auctioned at the city’s First Bale Auction and Scholarship Fundraiser in September.

According to Chris Gonzales, executive director of the Harlingen Chamber, Harlingen has been auctioning the first bale of cotton grown in the United States since 1953.

“Because of our climate, the Valley’s cotton farmers have been the first in the country and usually the world to bring in the new crop,” Gonzales said.

According to Mike England, co-owner England Farms, this was the farm’s first year to deliver the first bale of cotton.

“We came close a couple of times — we once got beat by an hour,” England said. “It’s been an ongoing friendly competition between Valley farmers for years, and it’s been fun to win this year.”

England continued: “We’re off to a great start, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Owned by Elizabeth and Mike England, England Farms has been growing cotton every year since it opened in 1984.