The major source of biological N fixation (BNF) in crop production systems of industrialized countries is through inclusion of legume plants in cropping systems. This paper describes the historical context of why BNF with legumes is still important in modern agriculture, even though inorganic fertilizer appears quite available, inexpensive, and easy to use. The major legume systems that supply N to cropping systems are reviewed, and recent developments in enhancing BNF in modern cropping systems are discussed.

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