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Damon Naylor (from left), Michael Matthews and Jimmy Wren help move equipment as they work to tear down and recycle a century-old barn on Aug. 18 in Elko, Minn. (Jennifer Simonson / Minnesota Public Radio News)

Recycling old Minnesota barns gives ex-offenders new skills

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ELKO, Minn. — When Scott Tempel and his wife Kara bought their 13-acre farm in Scott County a year and a half ago, it came with a storybook dairy barn that had faded red boards, a steep metal roof and an old brick silo.

There was only one problem: It was falling apart.

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