In Reply to: Keep in seed grain posted by RRC on November 19, 2009 at 17:28:
: : "Keep in seed grain"
: : I'm not exactly sure what it means, or its origin. Can someone help me out? Here is the sentence in its context - discussing railroad companies of the 1800s and their pricing:
: : The railroads appeared unhampered by the laws of competition. They seemed able to charge rates calculated to keep the farmers in seed grain - no higher, no lower.
: "Seed grain" is grain bought as seed, i.e. to be planted not made into flour, fed to animals, etc. The railroad fixed their prices so high that the farmers could just afford to re-plant (and thus pay the railroad to ship the next harvest) but not make any profit.
And "to keep [someone] in [a commodity]" means to provide them the means to obtain an adequate supply of it. As in: "£50,000 a year? That's hardly enough to keep me in gin!" (VSD)