John Deere CEO sees story, gives Breckenridge teen VIP tour of Illinois headquarters

The last time we visited with Breckenridge High School senior Dylan Bakken, he told WDAY News his dream of becoming a farmer.

Dylan Bakke, 18, of Wolverton, Minnesota, was invited to John Deere headquarters in Moline, Illinois, after the CEO saw a WDAY-TV news story about Dylan's desire to become a farmer once he graduates.
Contributed / John Deere

MOLINE, Ill. — The last time WDAY News visited with Breckenridge High School senior Dylan Bakken, he shared his dream of becoming a farmer .

He already bought a few pieces of equipment like a combine and a rake, and he farmed some land he did not own. He sure had the determination.

That story touched a lot of people last August, including John Deere's CEO in Moline, Illinois.

So, the company invited Bakken to come to John Deere headquarters for a VIP tour. RDO Equipment Co. out of Fargo helped facilitate the visit.

Back home on his family's hobby farm near Wolverton, Minnesota, Bakken is still shaking his head. Back from a whirlwind farmer's trip of a lifetime.


"It's very, very crazy as an 18-year-old to be able to do that, and there's just no other word than that," Bakken said.

We learned of the tractors and the combine Bakken already had for his dream of becoming a farmer. He just didn't have the farm yet.

"I always just loved growing up with machinery, watching the crop grow and all of that. It's just beautiful," Bakken said.

So moved by that determination, John Deere CEO John May brought Bakken and his parents out to Illinois.

"I thought the whole trip was astonishing," Bakken said.

They saw and met a ton of John Deere leaders, but the highlight was the Harvester Works combine factory. Bakken lives and breathes John Deere green and so imagine the surprise when John Deere awarded him The Bolt Award, a The Bolt award from John Deere.

More from WDAY's Kevin Wallevand

"(I)f you have a good attitude in life, it can get you very far. It just means a lot to be able to receive something like that," Bakken said.

John Deere CEO John May told Bakken that the future of farming is in good hands because of him.


Bakken graduates from Breckenridge High School this spring. He plans on a hay and corn crop this summer.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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