Stop by the MATE Theater on Saturday to enjoy painting. Submitted photo.

BILLINGS, Mont. – The classroom-style MATE Theater provides a venue for experts from entities such as Montana State University Extension and the Montana Department of Agriculture to present topics ranging from proper pesticide placement to better beef breeding.

See this year's schedule below:

Thursday, Feb. 14:

11-11:50 a.m. Increasing farm profit through precision agriculture

TJ Knecht, Agri-Coach, 406 Agronomy

1-1:50 p.m. Prairie Dog Management

Stephen Vantassel, Vertebrate Pest Specialist, Montana Department of Agriculture

Montana Department of Agriculture’s Vertebrate Pest Specialist Stephen M. Vantassel will review methods for controlling prairie dogs to help producers make cost-effective decisions. His presentation will review basic life history and cover the pros and cons of available control techniques, including mechanical control (trapping, shooting), chemical controls (fumigants and baits), unregulated methods (carbon-monoxide and propane-oxygen exploders) and biological controls.

2-2:50 p.m. Dicamba and Paraquat Use Update

Lyle Scott, Plant Science Specialist, Montana Department of Agriculture

Lyle Scott will discuss past uses and misuses of Dicamba, corrections being applied and future requirements. He will also discuss the history, uses for, problems, benefits, resurgence and new training requirements for Paraquat.

3-3:50 p.m. Water Quality and Soil Activity for Pesticides

Mat Walter, Extension Agent, MSU Extension – Musselshell/Golden Valley Counties

MSU Extension Agent Mat Walter will take an in-depth look at how soil structure and water quality impact the efficacy of herbicides on farm ground and rangeland and how applicators might improve the chances of herbicides reaching their target plants.


10-10:50 a.m. Nuts & Bolts of Income Tax Filing

Jamie Hovey and Amy Iverson, Wipfli CPA's and Consultants

Learn about in-kind wages, March 1 deadline vs. April 15 deadline, Year End Planning, The New Tax Law and the current impact of Entity structures.

11-11:50 a.m. Using Social Media to Reach New Buyers

Karoline Rose of KRose Marketing and Consulting

Marketing and advertising production sales is changing rapidly. Almost everyone is using at least one social media platform, including your buyers! Social media is a powerful tool that can help you grow your sale and attract new buyers to your program. Karoline Rose will be presenting on the power of social media from game changing Facebook Ads to YouTube videos to utilizing Instagram and hashtags. She will also touch on using email and text message marketing to turn followers into paying customers.

1-1:50 p.m. Invasive Annual Grasses in Montana

Jane Mangold, Rangeland Weed Extension Specialist, MSU Extension

This presentation will discuss four invasive annual grasses threatening range and pastures in Montana. Identification, biology, and management will be discussed along with unique challenges certain annual grasses present in terms of potential impacts and management.

2-2:50 p.m. Integrated Weed Management

Tim Seipel, Cropland Weed Extension Specialist, MSU Extension

Integrated Weed Management is a diversified approach to agricultural weed management that aims to more effectively target problem weeds by incorporating multiple strategies together. Integrated weed management allows the producer to design their weed management program around what is most effective for the particular weeds, crop, and farm operation. MSU Extension Specialist Tim Seipel will cover important aspects of integrated weed management in the semi-arid systems.

3-3:50 p.m. Control Ideas for Common Weeds in Yellowstone County

Callie Cooley, Extension Agent, MSU Extension – Yellowstone County

MSU Extension Agent Callie Cooley will discuss control methods of common invasive weeds in Yellowstone County including leafy spurge, Canada thistle, field bindweed, spotted knapweed, Scotch thistle, common burdock, puncturevine, curly dock, poison hemlock and black henbane. The presentation will focus on integrated weed management, highlighting best control options for individual situations.


11-11:50 a.m. Medicare 101

Bobbi Roberts, Medicare specialist

Everything you've always wanted to know about Medicare but didn't have anyone to ask.

12-3 p.m. Painting

Presented by Bitterroot Sip & Paint

Free! Come at any time and paint on canvas. Stop on by to paint Montana! Easy beginner paintings with an artist on hand to help you every step of the way.