Alfalfa (Medicago sativa
L.), a perennial and outcrossing species, is a widely planted forage legume for hay, pasture and silage throughout the world. Currently, alfalfa breeding relies on recurrent phenotypic selection, but alternatives incorporating molecular marker assisted breeding could enhance genetic gain per unit time and per unit cost, and accelerate alfalfa improvement. Many major quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to agronomic traits have been identified by family-based QTL mapping, but in relatively large genomic regions. Candidate genes elucidated from model species have helped to identify some potential causal loci in alfalfa mapping and breeding population for specific traits. Recently, high throughput sequencing technologies, coupled with advanced bioinformatics tools, have been used to identify large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in alfalfa, which are being developed into markers. These markers will facilitate fine mapping of quantitative traits and genome wide association mapping of agronomic traits and further advanced breeding strategies for alfalfa, such as marker-assisted selection and genomic selection. Based on ideas from the literature, we suggest several ways to improve selection in alfalfa including (1) diversity selection and paternity testing, (2) introgression of QTL and (3) genomic selection.