Forages, the edible parts of plants, other than separated grain, that can provide feed for grazing animals, or that can be harvested for feed, play a vital role in agriculture and in society (Allen, 1991). The many types of forages are crucial to feeding the earth's population since the world consumes a great deal of meat and utilizes many other animal products such as wool, leather, milk, and medicines. But forages also provide numerous other ecological benefits which involve soil conservation, beautifying recreational areas, soil fertility and clean air and water. Forages are a major factor in the total agricultural economy. Since forages are grown and used with livestock, include many types of grasses and legumes, and are harvested in various ways, it might be best to view forages as an element in grassland ecosystems and not as a separate crop. This ecosystem perspective also highlights the role forages play in sustaining, or prolonging the world's agriculture.

Although every country has various native forages, it is important to realize that many forages grown today are not native to their specific area. Like immigrants, every country has adopted forage types throughout history in hopes of better living. So the cooperation of countries and scientists is very important to better research, produce, and utilize forages. There are several grassland organizations that include cooperation in their goals.