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BASF,Research Triangle Park, N.C., has partnered with leading technology companies to provide high-speed Internet service to ag retailers nationwide. "Harvest Partners Network will provide high-speed, satellite-based Internet access to ag retailers in rural areas at speeds up to 10 times faster than dial-up connections," according to Terry Hanson, director, eBusiness Initiatives, BASF. "Because it is delivered by satellite, Harvest Partners Network will be available in almost any location nationwide, unlike DSL, cable, and fixed-wireless, which have distance limitations." In addition to high-speed Internet access, participating retailers will have access to market quotes, weather and news on the Harvest Partners Network Web site.

In the future, participating retailers will also be able to offer the network to their grower customers. Each grower who subscribes will be linked to their retailer through the "Local Connection," where retailers can communicate and exchange information with their customers.

"Harvest Partners Network will provide significant marketing opportunities for the retailer. Through the 'Local Connection,' retailers will be able to share value-added information such as scouting reports and pest advisories with their best customers," Hanson points out.

The network will also provide multi-outlet retailers the ability to connect each outlet in a secure, private network. "With Harvest Partners Network, agribusinesses with multiple outlets will be able to build a secure, virtual private network that can be used to run enterprise software packages such as inventory management systems. This will allow retailers to share, analyze and act upon business information much more quickly than they have been able to in the past, allowing for operational efficiencies and improved profits," Hanson concluded.

Harvest Partners Network will be available to ag retailers nationwide this spring. AM

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