Pocahontas, AR

"Where rice is king"

Kevin Weitkamp waves the American flag while atop a grain bin surrounded by floodwater. (Credit: Kevin Weitkamp)

The Nicest Places in America are places where family, friends, and even complete strangers put their lives on hold to help you overcome when your livelihood and way of life is threatened by natural disaster. This very thing happened in Pocahontas.

Stories About Pocahontas

On May 3, 2017, Pocahontas and the surrounding farms and communities in Randolph county were impacted by a historical amount of flooding. The Black River reached levels never before seen, threatening to blow through the levee that was protecting thousands of acres of farmland and the town of Pocahontas. I am the co-operator of Weitkamp Farms, which was right in the crosshairs of a levee breach. Realizing the levee couldn’t hold, we were faced with the fact that the 56,000 bushels of rice, soybeans, and corn still in our grain bins would be lost to the high water. At 7am on May 2, we starting trucking out the grain with our two trucks. We quickly realized that it was not possible to move it all out in time with only our own vehicles. We were overcome with emotion when suddenly trucks started pulling in from every direction. Family, friends, and complete strangers rolled up their sleeves and started helping us. With the help of these nice people we moved the grain in 28 hours. The levee broke two hours later, completely submerging our entire farm, but what remained of last year’s harvest was saved! The destruction and economic impact on our little area of the country was tremendous. Still today, in April 2018, work is being done to repair the levee. Although we live in a constant state of worry until it’s fixed, we are also comforted knowing the people in this area will be here to help when needed.

Rising floodwaters that swept Weitkamp Farms. (Credit: Kevin Weitkamp)