The strongest reason against a major expansion of Moark's facilities in Neosho may have come from the company itself.
In its May 13 quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Land O'Lakes, which owns controlling interest in Moark, paints a bleak picture for the egg-producing industry.
For the three months ending March 31, egg prices were 74 cents a dozen, down from $1.21 a dozen for the three months ending March 31, 2004.
"We believe that egg market prices will remain depressed through the remainder of 2005 due to excess capacity in the industry and the diminishing popularity of high-protein diets."
Moark's problems wreaked havocs with Land o'Lakes bottom line, according to the report.
"Our net earnings were $24.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2005, compared to $45.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2004. Net earnings included income tax expense of $2.1 million and $17.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2005 and 2004, respectively. The primary reasons for the decrease in net earnings were a $15.5 million decrease in layers net earnings, excluding equity in losses of affiliated companies, which resulted from a steep decline in egg market prices, and a decrease in equity in earnings from affiliates of $11.2 million."
Now what reason would Moark have to increase its egg-laying capacity so drastically at a time when prices are down and the popularity of eggs in the diet has been decreasing steadily over the past several years?
This would seem to indicate that Moark might be planning to pull out of some other community and put all of its eggs in one basket, so to speak, in Neosho.