(photo above: dent corn stored in a corn crib to be ground as "ear corn" for livestock, including dairy cows, hogs, and chickens
Sweet Corn, Dent Corn, and Flint Corn
Most corn you see grown around Ohio is not intended for human consumption. It is field corn, a form of "dent corn," that is harvested when the ear is dried down and falls over. It's kind of cool how nature protects the cob. When it is mature, the cob falls forward and rain runs off of the ear allowing it to be dried down. When the kernel dries down, often to about 15% to 20% moisture, the kernels display a "dent."
Dent corn can be processed for human consumption, including cornmeal, cereals, popcorn, etc.
However, most dent corn is grown either for processing into animal feed or ethanol production. The byproducts of corn are then used in industry for countless uses from making plastics to carpet dies, among literally countless uses.
Flint corn is more commonly referred to as Indian corn and is used as decorations in the fall.
Sweet corn is a species of corn where the cob can be harvested "fresh" and the sugars are still present (not converted to starch). Sweet corn plants are generally much smaller and harvest is done by hand. A very small percentage of roadside corn is sweet corn.