In an April 23, 2009, Soybean E-Digest newsletter, I related having doubts over the eloquent claims of comfort I’d seen from retailers selling clothing made from soy fabric. I then requested readers write to me if they had ever bought or tried clothing or linen made from soy-based byproducts.

One reader not only wrote to me to confirm that soy fabric was indeed comfortable, but she also sent me a soy polo shirt for me to try out. The person who sent me the soy shirt, Jean Knakmuhs, from Lucas, MN, sits on the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) Board of Directors. Knahmuhs had worn a soy shirt while representing MSGA at a fair booth and thought I’d find a similar soy shirt just as comfortable as she did – and she was right.

Having now worn this soy polo shirt quite often throughout summer and fall, I can “comfortably” report that it is the most luxurious-feeling shirt in my wardrobe – pretty much as soft as silk, and yet more durable. I’ve worn it outside in the summer heat and found it to breathe as well or better than cotton and stayed warm in it on relatively crisp fall days. I’ve also put it through quite a few cycles in the washing machine and seen that it holds up quite well over time.

The only potential drawback to the fabric is that – at least initially – it didn’t feel like I had a shirt on at all. I kept having to check every once in a while to assure myself that, yes, I really did put it on, and I’m not walking around in public shirtless. Good thing I wasn’t testing out soy shorts – that would have really made me nervous!

Anyway, if you’re looking for a soft, durable fabric, I’d recommend trying material made from a soy-based byproduct, like the soy shirt I’ve been testing. To find one for yourself, you can do a Web search for soy fabric. Or, you can contact the supplier that MSGA has used to purchase soy-polo shirts, which is JM Promotions, 227 E Main Street, Suite 205, Mankato, MN 56001. When calling, ask for Judy Mettler. Her phone number is: 507-387-5887. You can also e-mail her at: judyme@hickorytech.net.

As always, you're also welcome to write to me if you have concerns or questions about this newsletter or have ideas on topics you’d like to see me write about for future issues. When writing, please let me know your name, where you farm or work, what your comment is and whether or not I have permission to use your comment in a future Soybean E-Digest newsletter. You can contact me (John Pocock) at: john.pocock@penton.com.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your readership, think comfort, think safety – and farm on!