HUME, Mo. (AP) _ An engagement ring lost 43 years ago turned up Monday as a man was hoeing his onion patch.

''It was just laying there on top,'' Elwood Liggett said. ''If I hadn't seen it, I would have hoed it under again.''

Luckily, ''when you hoe you keep your nose to the ground,'' the 63-year-old said.

When Liggett moved into the house in 1951, the previous residents asked him to keep an eye out for the ring.

''I've always looked for it, just thinking someday I might accidentally find it,'' Liggett said. ''This morning I did.''

So 43-years after it was lost, Liggett called Charles Ray Farrell, 63, and his wife, Ella Darlene, with the good news.

The Farrells drove the 60 miles south from their home in the Kansas City suburb of Raytown to claim it.

Mrs. Farrell admitted she couldn't remember exactly what the ring looked like. But she told her husband ''I'll know when I see it, and if it goes on my finger it's mine.''

Mrs. Farrell said the ring - a gold band with a small diamond - slipped off her finger while she was working in the garden in July 1949, five months after she married. She never replaced it.

Mrs. Farrell was thrilled to get it back.

''It never got cut up, it's not been hit by a cultivator or anything,'' Mrs. Farrell said. ''You can still see the engraving on it.

''I have it on right now, and it's going to stay there.''