A Southland dairy farmer is encouraging rural people to get involved in volunteering locally.

Katrina Thomas won the Dairy Women's Network's award for community leadership and says it's been an honour to be recognised nationally for her efforts.

Thomas said winning the award was "overwhelming" and it was an "amazing feeling" to be acknowledged by her peers.

Katrina first got involved with the Dairy Women's Network in 2012 when she and her husband converted their farm from sheep to dairy.

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Thomas says it is hard for young dairy workers to become a part of the community when they first start in a new place. Joining groups like the Dairy Women's Network is crucial to make social connections

Video made by Ruby Spink for The South Today with the support of New Zealand On Air.