Henry Fribourg initiated the forage research and teaching programs in Tennessee in 1956, after having his interest in computers awakened while doing research for the US Army Chemical Corps. In the 1960s he was an early adopter of digital processing of forage research data to meet reporting requirements. Soon after scientists in Georgia and Alabama identified the probable fungal source of the animal nutritional and other problems associated with fescue toxicosis, he became co-leader, and later senior member, of an informal assemblage of faculty members conducting research in many of the aspects covered in this monograph. Since tall fescue covered 30 percent of the farm area in the state which furnished feed for the 2 million beef cattle herd, some 15 participants eventually joined the effort to investigate these problems. He served as associate editor for three journals: Crop Science (4 yr), the Journal of Production Agriculture (6 yr), and Forage and Grazinglands (3 yr).
David Hannaway has been involved with tall fescue research for his entire career, beginning with mineral nutrition studies for his graduate theses. Having originally collaborated with Henry Fribourg in developing plotting software for main‑frame computers while a M.S. student, he developed the Internet-based Oregon Forage Information System (FIS) in 1994 to help fulfill his duties of extension specialist in forage and livestock systems. At a coffee break during the American Society of Agronomy Annual Meetings in 1996, he challenged Henry to develop a segment on tall fescue for the FIS to accompany the ones on alfalfa and orchardgrass he had developed already. The preliminary Online Tall Fescue Monograph that resulted in 2002 attracted the attention of ASA and CSSA to the need for updating the 1979 Agronomy Monograph 20, Tall Fescue. This effort grew into the current expanded print and digital versions.
Charles West became interested in tall fescue while in the Peace Corps in Morocco, within the range of fescues that can survive very dry summers. He joined the University of Arkansas in 1984 and has been conducting research on tall fescue and its endophyte since then. He pursued his interest in tall fescue drought tolerance through repeated visits to the Mediterranean area in France, Spain, and North Africa. He has been active in the Southern Extension and Research Activities Information Exchange Group-8 where he worked with Henry Fribourg and others in standardizing terminology associated with tall fescue and endophytes. He also co-edited the proceedings of invited papers from the Fifth International Symposium on Neotyphodium-Grass Interactions, published as Neotyphodium in Cool-Season Grasses by Blackwell Publishing. It was during that time that his co-editor, Craig Roberts, Editor-in-Chief of the Crop Science Society of America, became acquainted with Chuck's meticulous editing. It followed that Chuck would join the other two editors when the decision was made to prepare this monograph.