Saturday 11th June, 2011
8:15am to 9:00am
his presentation highlights a unique and successful partnership between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), eXtension, and a private company.
Bonnie Plant Farm is a national plant wholesaler based in Alabama that supplies retail stores throughout the United States. In 2009, Bonnie Plants representatives approached ACES to explore options for handling the many plant-related questions which the company receives from customers via its website. Bonnie Plants recognized that ACES agents handle many such questions on a daily basis. Coincidentally, ACES had just finished adding eXtension’s Ask an Expert widget to the state's 67 county websites. The widget was the obvious solution to meet the needs of Bonnie Plants; however, there was no precedent for using the widget in this manner involving a private company.
In March 2010, a partnership was formed between ACES, eXtension, and Bonnie Plants. A specialized Ask an Expert widget was created and placed on the Bonnie Plants website. The company provided funding support for an ACES position devoted to answering questions submitted via that widget. Thus far, over 1,700 questions have been answered either via the widget or via direct follow-up e-mail. Overall, this partnership meets mutual needs while increasing the visibility of Extension.
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