seed corn

noun
ears or kernels of corn set apart as seed.

Origin:
1585–95

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World English Dictionary
seed corn
 
n
1.  the good quality ears or kernels of corn that are used as seed
2.  assets or investments that are expected to provide profits in the future

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Example sentences
We've traded our seed corn for corn liquor and the road back to sober, honest prosperity is quite painful.
But allowing talented and knowledgeable people to play with what they know is the seed corn.
The change from open-pollinated to high-yield hybrid seed corn is a blessing and a curse.
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