Farm tiling study called into question

Tiling is a widely accepted agricultural practice that’s been around for decades, but recently it’s been called into question.

The banks in the Minnesota River basin have been eroding, and a recent study by a St. Croix laboratory claimed that tiling is causing increased flows in rivers and streams, which in turn eats away at the riverbanks. A University of Minnesota Professor has some questions about the methodology and the findings in this study.

“Certain environmental groups have accepted that bank erosion is the primary reason for sediment buildup in the Minnesota River and Lake Pepin,” said Dr. Satish Gupta, the Raymond Allmaras Professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate. “So the next question is ‘what’s causing the sediment banks to slump’”? They’re saying the river flow has gone up and it’s undercutting some of the banks.”

Satish Gupta

Dr Satish Gupta of the University of Minnesota Extension Service (photo from

Gupta said the question now is why the river flow is higher than it’s been in the past.

“They’re saying it’s because we have put tile drainage in the landscape that we have so much more water coming into the river,” said Gupta. “This is based on work people did in Iowa and at a laboratory in St. Croix, Minnesota. They did some analysis and suggested it is tile drainage that’s causing the rivers to go up.”

He noticed that some of the analysis did not account for increased precipitation and mis-applied the soil hydrology principles.

“They’re saying when immigrants came to this country, they started draining the land and tiling it,” said Dr. Gupta. “Over the years, they say the practice has been increasing runoff into the river, which in turn erodes the riverbanks. That’s their argument.”

Dr. Gupta and his associates put together their own study of the matter, and the findings will soon be published as a paper in a journal called “Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.


According to one expert, farm field tiling is not responsible for the erosion of banks on the Minnesota River. (photo from twin

“We started analyzing river flow and annual precipitation data, using 1976 as a starting point,” said Gupta. “The reason we did that is plastic tile wasn’t manufactured in the USA until 1967. People were initially worried the plastic wouldn’t be able to withstand the pressure from freezing soil in the winter and they’d end up replacing it. They didn’t really adopt plastic tile line until after 1976.”

He added, “Even the Research and Outreach Station at Lamberton used the clay tile lines in 1975.”

So they began their study to see if annual river flows had risen significantly over the next several decades.

“What we found was riverflows were higher because we’re getting an average of 4 inches more precipitation every year,” said Gupta, “and that water has to go someplace. In fact, in Waseca we get an average of 8 more inches of precipitation per year now than the past. In the areas we studied in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, there’s no space to hold the extra water.”

Gupta said those numbers were confirmed by a recent national climatic assessment issued by the White House.

“A recent study commissioned by President Obama said we are getting about 10-15 percent more precipitation than in the past,” said Gupta. “If you think we have 30 inches of rain in Minnesota on average, then 10-15 percent is 3.5-4 inches more rain per year.”

Dr. Shawn Schottler and associates of the St. Croix Watershed Research Station wrote the initial paper that blamed tiling as a major cause in rising river levels. Gupta said he questioned the methodology used in coming to that conclusion.

“Dr. Schottler had made some mistakes in his analysis,” said Gupta. “He also made some assumptions which are not right. He showed that quite a bit of water is coming from tile drainage, and also because we replaced previous crops with more soybeans.”

Gupta added, “His argument for soybeans was ‘we plant them later into May, whereas corn is planted in mid-April, so during that period there’s some evapotranspiration (moisture released from the plant into the atmosphere) going on, and that water also shows up in the river. That’s simply not true.”

“Evapotranspiration of corn and soybeans are about the same,” he said. “They both lose about 20-22 inches of evapotranspiration. The previous crops included a lot of small grains, which only uses 12-14 inches of evapotranspiration. As a result, we have actually increased evapotranspiration than what we had previously.”

He said the previous crops like small grains actually left more water in the soil than the corn and soybeans we grow currently. That’s just one of the errors Gupta feels the St. Croix lab made in it’s analysis.

“They made some high-school-level math mistakes too,” said Gupta. “Taking an average value of a linear relationship is okay, but the average value of an exponential relationship is wrong, because it should be like more of a geometric mean.   And when you take an average value, you ignore the variability, and Schottler called this variability the tile drainage effect. That is simply wrong!”

He added, “Those kinds of mistakes aggravated the problems in their analysis.”

The other problem is their technique showed tile drainage effects where there is no tile drainage.

“We took their technique and applied it to northern Minnesota,” said Gupta. “We found a 139 percent increase in tile drainage, when there’s no tile drainage in the entire area.

Gupta said they studied a wide range of watersheds in Iowa and Minnesota.

River watershed

The Rush River watershed is similar to the ones Gupta and his associates studied in their attempt to answer criticism of farm field tiling. (photo from

“We studied a total of 29 different watersheds,” said Gupta. “In almost all cases, we found an increase in precipitation that’s been happening for the last 30-40 years is causing higher flows in rivers, while tile drainage and cropping systems have had a very minimal impact.”









Agenda 21 is either sound policy or something sinister

Agenda 21 first came into being as a “non-binding, voluntarily implemented action plan of the United Nations regarding sustainable development” at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. The website says the gathering, also known as “Earth Summit,” took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  However, based on whom you ask, this document may be more than that.

The original Agenda 21 document (photo from

The original Agenda 21 document (photo from


Visit the website and you’ll find Agenda 21 described as a “process for meeting the needs of the present generation without harming the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” calls Agenda 21 an “elitist plan to control your life, demanding you do as I say not as I do.”


Agenda 21 is born


According to the website, the “Earth Summit” was a first-of-its-kind U.N. Conference, both in terms of the number of attendees, and the wide-ranging scope of concerns it dealt with. The U.N. sought to help world governments redo their economic development processes, as well as limit the use of disappearing natural resources and reduce damage to the environment.


Hundreds of thousands of people attended the conference in Rio.  The message of the conference was “that nothing less that a complete change of thinking, in both attitudes and behaviors, would bring about necessary changes.” notes as a result of the Earth Summit, over 170 countries signed on to Agenda 21, including then-American President George H.W. Bush

Earth Summit delegates signing the Earth Pledge (photo from the

Earth Summit delegates signing the Earth Pledge (photo from the


Agenda 21 and hidden motives


Americans Against Agenda 21 is a group based in Rochester, Minnesota, and in recent years began noticing some interesting terms popping up in their local neighborhood planning meetings.


Their website,, notes the terms included “sustainable development, open space, heritage areas, historic preservation, comprehensive managing, growth areas, and smart growth.”  The group said, “all of these terms sound good, and we thought they were things we could support.”  However, as time went by, they learned more about Agenda 21.


AAA21 says those “good sounding terms have a foundation directly in Agenda 21.”

More walking paths over fewer cars on the roads because of Agenda 21? (photo by Chad Smith)

More walking paths over fewer cars on the roads because of Agenda 21? (photo by Chad Smith)


The website notes that some readers may think it “sounds like a crazy conspiracy.”  They say, “It may sound like some crazy kook theory that the average person should just write off.”  They encourage readers to look through all the evidence on their website and make their own decisions.


The people behind Agenda 21

Glen Beck is a one-time political commentator for Fox News, and he offered some evidence supporting the theory that Agenda 21 is not what it seems:





Plans in motion


In a video posted by Jason A on, local communities around the country are realizing what Agenda 21 actually is:  an infiltration of local governments by globalists in the United Nations:



The “stack em and pack em” comment in the video caught the attention of Steve Roberts, a member of Rochester, Minnesota-based Americans Against Agenda 21.  He says it’s begun happening in recent years to Rochester residents.


“In recent years, planning department are putting increasing pressure on homeowner associations regarding an increasing number of bike paths, less and less parking, and shoe-horning multi-family developments into residential areas.”


He offered up the example of a new development on Fifth Avenue Southwest in Rochester.  “It’s right there, literally next door to single-family homes on all sides,” said Roberts.  “Neighborhood residents didn’t want it there, but the city said the

More multi-family dwellings and less homes in Agenda 21? (Photo by Chad Smith)

More multi-family dwellings and less homes in Agenda 21? (Photo by Chad Smith)

project owner did due diligence, and we’re going to allow it, right in the middle of a residential neighborhood.”  His allegations were confirmed in Amendment to Land Use Planning  #R2014-001LUPA, showing a medium-density, multi-family dwelling put into a residential neighborhood.


He offered as proof of his claims a written document that Rochester’s membership in the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives, which is a United Nations-backed organization, directly created by the original Agenda 21 document to influence local governments.  Roberts included a string of emails with then-Rochester City Planner Phil Wheeler stating Rochester’s ICLEI dues totaled $1,710.

What happens to modern Agriculture under Agenda 21? (photo by Chad Smith)

What happens to modern Agriculture under Agenda 21? (photo by Chad Smith)



“This is not going to go away,” said Roberts.


The website agrees with Roberts.  They say, “Isn’t Agenda 21 just a plan to protect the environment and stop urban sprawl?”  No.  They say they oppose Agenda 21 because it is designed to control every aspect of our lives.


How will Agenda 21 affect individuals?


The website called Agenda 21 “a substantial attack on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”  They state Agenda 21 is designed to replace the economic and social structure of the United States, and offered up some of the “unsustainable” targets:


Page Number Unsustainable =We will take this away!
337 Ski runs
350 Grazing of livestock
351 Disturbance of soil surface-plowing of soil, building fences
728 Commercial Agriculture-Modern farm production, chemical fertilizers, fossil fuels, etc.
730 Any Industrial activity
730 “Human-made caves of brick and mortar (single family homes)
730 Paved and tarred roads, Railroads, floor and wall tiles
733 Technology, range lands, fish ponds, plantations or rangelands
738 Harvesting timber and modern hunting
748 Logging activities
755 Dams and reservoirs, straightening of rivers
757 Power line construction
763 Economic systems that fail to set proper value on the environment.
Will Agenda 21 mean the end of golf courses? (Photo by Chad Smith)

Will Agenda 21 mean the end of golf courses? (Photo by Chad Smith)


Conspiracy theory or sound policy?


Americans Against Agenda 21 said on it’s website, “after investigation, we found that the essential elements of this document are being supported locally, sometimes using public tax dollars.  Not only are the elements supported, they are being implemented as well.”


They say it’s “not remote. It’s not abstract and off in the future. It’s here, and it’s here now.”


They and other groups against Agenda 21 invite readers to do their own research, and form their own opinions on whether or not it’s a global conspiracy or sound environmental policy.