If someone tells you they're wearing socks made from soybeans later this spring, you best not laugh at them. They just might know what they're talking about, believe it or not! You've fed soybean products to livestock, ate soybeans in various foods, maybe even drank soybeans through soy milk products. And you've likely driven over soybeans in oil used to hold down dust on gravel roads. Now you're likely burning some Indiana soybeans in the diesel tank of your tractor, combine or maybe even your pickup truck. So why would it seem so strange to put them on your feet?
It shouldn't, says Richard Culler of Eel River Marketing, Clay City, Ind. He and his family operate a farm retail outlet for livestock feed and soy products. Their line of products includes various lotions made of soy. Beginning later this month, it will also include socks made of byproducts from certain forms of soybean processing.
Right now the ingredients from soy used to make soy thread comes from byproducts of making tofu from soybeans, largely fro the Japanese market, Culler says. The thread can be woven into yarn, and turned into socks.
Culler's dream is to combine with other farmers and develop a business with a small soybean processing plant in southern Indiana that could produce the raw material needed to make various soy products, including creams, lotions and maybe even socks. He and his family led a group investigating the potential to build a soy biodiesel plant in their area a few years ago, but that opportunity didn't pan out. Since then, he and his family have successfully explored other ways to add value to soy products.
Soy socks are a special story, he notes. The socks will actually be made for them by For Bare Feet, a unique business in Helmsburg, Ind. This Brown County business started with little more than a couple people and a sewing machine, Culler notes. Now it sells socks with the logos of many colleges and pro athletic teams. The firm also sells socks in at least two shops in Nashville, in its' home county.
Representatives of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman were instrumental in hooking up Culler with the folks that make the socks, he reports. The result should be socks made of soy byproducts being marketed by Culler very soon.
His family wants to give back to the community. So some of the socks will be made with pink ribbons, and part of the proceeds from the sale of each pair of socks will be donated to cancer organizations. They have other philanthropic goals in mind as well.
So what's on your feet? Before long, it just might be soy!