At a time when more of the world’s population is relying on beans to satisfy its basic nutritional needs (protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, calories), per capita bean consumption has decreased in some countries due to a lack of supply. Under-developed countries face an increase likelihood of malnutrition as bean consumption decreases. In contrast, per capita consumption in the United States has increased due to a desire to improve the quality of diet and to satisfy the increasing popularity for ethnic foods. Although the demand for beans is high, yield per acre in the United States has plateaued. Increased yields can be accomplished by increasing the genetic diversity of the current narrow US germplasm base and by the incorporation of genetic resistance to common biotic (root rots, common bacterial blight, bean golden mosaic virus) and abiotic (high heat and aluminum toxicity) stresses encountered in many bean production areas.