Current agricultural practices on available arable land will not meet the nutritional needs of a population that will soon exceed nine billion people. In parallel, climate change is increasing extreme weather events, and continued urbanization of farmland is eliminating arable land. There is a clear need for sustainable agricultural innovations that can increase yields and provide food security while mitigating environmental degradation. In recent years interest has grown in harnessing the beneficial associations that soil microbes can form with plants to improve agricultural outcomes. The plant microbiome abounds with plant growth-promoting (PGP) bacteria that can help plants acquire more nutrients from the soil and tolerate stressors like drought. PGP bacteria can also control plant pathogens and promote interactions with other beneficial organisms. Finding ways to harness these beneficial microbes to improve crop growth and yield has the potential to ameliorate the challenges imposed by the world’s growing population and environmental degradation. However, several obstacles remain to using PGP-based strategies for agricultural improvement.