January 18, 2021 at 8:11 p.m.
It was not a typical morning milking for Kelsey Buss Nov. 14.
Derek Kucera asked Kelsey to be his wife in the milkhouse of her dairy near Hutchinson, Minnesota.
“I was very surprised,” Kelsey said.
Kelsey had been completing chores with her sister, Brigette, when their dad, Kevin, asked for help with the feed mill.
Kelsey followed her dad out of the barn but soon heard her sister urgently calling for help with a cow.
“I was annoyed and a little flustered,” Kelsey said. “And when I made my way back into the barn, there was a sheet on one of the cows.”
Confused, Kelsey took a closer look, and as she did her boyfriend, Derek, appeared and knelt on one knee.
“That’s when I realized what was happening, and my heart started to beat really fast,” Kelsey said.
Captured on video from a friend, Kelsey’s response was emphatically yes.
Kelsey and Derek met through mutual friends and bonded over their shared love of hockey. They have been dating for two and a half years and have lived together about half that time on the farm.
“I farm with my parents right now,” Kelsey said. “But eventually I’d love to takeover and run the family farm.”
The Buss family milks 60 Holsteins in a flat parlor and rents cropland to grow forages for their livestock. Kelsey does all the milking and also balances an off-farm job working with disabled adults full time.
Derek was not a farm boy but grew up helping local farmers near Silver Lake. Today, he works as a mechanic at Pro Auto in Hutchinson and helps on the Buss’ farm when he can.
“I knew pretty early on it was going to last,” Kelsey said. “He fit in so well with my family, and that’s something really important to me.”
For one of their first dates, Kelsey taught Derek how to drive tractor.
“It was springtime, so that can get a little crazy on the farm,” Kelsey said. “I told him, ‘If you want to date a farmer, this is what it’s like.’”
They had talked seriously about their relationship in January 2019 before Derek moved to the farm, but he wanted to wait for the right moment to make their engagement official.
Kelsey admits she was impatient through the process.
“I was ready,” she said. “He maybe needed a little more time, but I was ready.”
In October 2020, the couple was in St. Cloud running errands when Kelsey suggested they stop at a ring shop to find her size.
“I didn’t want there to be pressure, but I wanted him to know what size I was, and what I liked so that when he was ready, he wouldn’t have to worry about that part,” Kelsey said.
Unbeknownst to her, Derek had already ordered a ring, and it was in the mail at the time of their fitting in St. Cloud.
“Looking back, it’s kind of funny,” Kelsey said. “I tried on a bunch of rings, and it was really fun. He was really interested in what I liked, and the ring he got me had a lot of my favorite things I had pointed out.”
The low-profile diamond with wrap-around infinity band was everything Kelsey wanted.
Planning a wedding during a pandemic can be challenging, but it has yet to get the best of the easy-going couple. They have set a date for Sept. 4 and hope to get married on the McLeod County Fairgrounds.
“The pavilion was recently remodeled, and it’s huge so it would be a great place for social distancing if it comes to that,” Kelsey said.
Wedding colors are set to be blue and magenta, the couple’s favorite colors.
“I really like gardening, and I’d like to incorporate plants somehow in the decorations as well,” Kelsey said. “Derek’s family likes John Deere, and we’re a big IH family, so we’ll have to include that somehow too.”
The county fair is a special place for the pair.
“We had a lot of relationship defining moments at the fair,” Kelsey said. “He didn’t really grow up doing the fair thing, and I love it.”
They are keeping the dairy theme incorporated in their wedding with cowbells on the tables to ring for a kiss.
The threat of COVID-19 lingers in the air, but Kelsey said they are not wasting time worrying.
“We know a lot of people that are waiting to get married,” Kelsey said. “But we don’t care if we can’t have a big party. We want to get married to be married.”
The couple has the back-up option to hold the ceremony and reception on the farm if need be.
“The vaccine coming out now gives us hope,” Kelsey said.
The engagement came just before the latest COVID-19-related regulations in Minnesota, so the couple hosted a small engagement party with friends and family in November.
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