Sub-zero temperatures at last year’s Royal Welsh Winter Fair have not deterred exhibitors from entering the 2011 event.

Livestock entries for the event being held today and tomorrow (November 28th and 29th) remain stable in all 170 classes with good support also in all 35 classes in the horse and pony section.

There are 268 cattle entered, including 67 crossbred steers and 65 crossbred heifers with baby beef heifer numbers totalling 52 and 38 baby beef steers. The exhibitor-bred champion section has drawn 55 entries.

At 59, pig entries are at their highest for three years and the sheep classes have also drummed up good interest with 328 lamb pairs entered.

And neither has the recession put off producers from booking stands in the food hall. Trade stand entries are at capacity.

There will be plenty of interest in the equine sections with 614 horses and ponies entered.

Away from the show ring, three women will be vying for one of Wales’ most prestigious farming titles – NFU Cymru/NatWest Wales Woman Farmer of the Year.

Now in its 15th year, the competition aims to celebrate the often forgotten contribution that women make to Welsh farming. Previous winners have gone on to hold key roles in the industry and win other awards.

This year, those shortlisted are from Powys, Gwynedd and Carmarthenshire.

Christine Lewis, of Brynowen Farm, Trefeglwys, Caersws, has demonstrated that being female and having young children needn’t hold you back in the male-dominated world of farming.

She established her own farming enterprise in 2000 and over the last ten years has developed the Brynowen flock of 250 pedigree registered Lleyn ewes and received national recognition through society sales and pre-sale shows.

Mari Evans, of Erwfaethlon, Cwmmaethlon, Tywyn, set up Direct Welsh Lamb. She was also the driving force behind the establishment of Cig Oen Maethlon, a catering trailer selling Welsh lamb burgers. She also runs a cutting plant on the farm to sell the meat.

Claire Beddoe, of Disgwylfa, Cwmdu, Llandeilo, is the owner-occupier of a 32-acre less favoured area holding on which she runs 22 suckler cows and 30 breeding ewes. She lets two farm cottages and has recently renovated the main farmhouse for bed and breakfast accommodation. She also works as a relief milker.

The winner will receive £500 and an engraved crystal fruit bowl, while the runners-up will each receive £100.