Lakeland Feeds, a longtime Hamilton business, has been included in the national Blue Ribbon Small Business Award winners from the US Chamber of Commerce.

Lakeland, which has retail outlets in three Montana towns, operates its feed mill on Marcus Street in Hamilton. The company has remodeled their Hamilton store in recent years and includes sales of many farm and ranch products.

This is the third time in a row for a Bitterroot Valley business to be included in the US Chamber's Blue Ribbon awards. Huls Dairy became a finalist in 2010, R&R Conner Helicopters went to Washington DC last year and now, Lakeland Feeds has been honored.

The company is also eligible for the Community Excellence Award, which is decided by online voting at the US Chamber website. You can vote, and we encourage you to add to the Lakeland numbers.

The 75 Blue Ribbon winners were selected from a record number of nationwide applicants. They will be honored at America's Small Business Summit 2012 in May in Washington DC. Later this month, the top 7 will be announced as award finalists. The winner of the Dream Big Small Business of the Year will win a $10,000 cash prize from the chamber.

The awards program is sponsored by Sams Club, honoring companies "that demonstrate excellent business practices in several areas, including strategy, employee development, community involvement and customer service.