He proposed, she accepted — in the barn
Alisha Nord and Dan Donnelly are true agriculturalists. The circumstances — he proposed to her in the barn, and she accepted — are proof of that.
"It was about as honest a true surprise as a person could get," Nord said of his proposal.
"I completely tricked her," Donnelly said.
As for the setting, which some folks might consider, well, less than romantic, "Most of the people who know us, when they heard about it, said, 'That's so you guys. That's so perfect,'" Nord said.
"But people looking from outside the ag industry would probably think, "That's the worst thing ever. I had my work clothes on. I had zero makeup on. I looked awful, to be honest" — which was captured by the video camera that Donnelly had set up, she said
Proposing in the barn may seem unorthodox to some people, but "It was fitting for us," Donnelly said.
Nord and Donnelly, both of whom have strong farm backgrounds, met at North Dakota State University and have lived for three years on a farm near Valley City, N.D., where they run a cow-calf operation together. Nord also is a field representative for North Dakota Farm Bureau, and Donnelly is an ag loan officer for Bank Forward in Valley City.
On Nov. 12, an unusually cold day for mid-November, Donnelly asked Nord to help him with the cattle in the barn. When they got there, she failed at first to notice a small jewelry box (which held a ring) attached to a cow's halter. When Nord finally saw it, she said, "'What?' I grabbed the box, and when I turned around, he was on his knee. And I thought, 'What the heck is going on?'"
Nord said that though she and Donnelly hadn't specifically talked about marriage, "We both know that this (their relationship) was it."
Donnelly, for his part, was "pretty sure she'd say yes."
Agriculture is important to them — "It's our life, pretty much," Nord said — but there is a major difference. Nord grew up with registered Black Angus cattle and remains committed to them, while Donnelly is passionate about Herefords.
"We agree mostly on exactly the same things, but not on cattle breeds," Nord said.
They have both breeds on their farm.
The couple hasn't set a date for the wedding.
"We'll have to plan it around spring planting, fall harvest, calving season, haying season. It'll be hard to find a time that works. Maybe we'll just have to go to the courthouse and get married," Nord said.