Not to question your story, but was that grain actually discarded or was it outside storage by the grain elevator. It is pretty standard procedure for grain elevators to have outside piles to store excess grain until shipment. You lose a little and you have to watch moisture when you mix it, but for elevators, it is definitely not a loss.
It was about a half mile from the grain elevators but no one ever retrieved it. They only dumped it there in the years when the market was excessively soft; there were more convenient places to buy cheap grain. In years when the market was good nothing ever ended up at the grain dump.
That whole region had ridiculous yields for years after Mt. St. Helens blew (it was in the ash plume -- great fertilizer) but they had difficulty moving that volume economically during years when the rest of the country had high yields. Or at least that is my recollection as a kid. Once they started dumping grain, the pile only got bigger.
Wow, whoever ran that elevator really needed to get his business sense fixed.
Some of the piles in Indiana and Kansas would make you think they are building a ski slope. First time I saw one I was so confused given that moisture is such a problem and drying is not cheap. Some elevators make a lot of profit managing moisture.
 If you are an awesome engineer and can figure out a cheap way to dry grain / corn, there is one big market for you.