United Fresh 2012 encourages attendees to “produce” excitement, and a full conference schedule is designed to make things happen for their companies.

Excitement is also growing for the show’s location, Dallas, an ideal setting for the convention, according to Shelby Rajkovich, communications manager at the United Fresh Produce Association.

“Dallas is also a destination for food enthusiasts,” she said. “With five-diamond restaurants and local casual cuisine, you’re sure to find exciting dishes.”

To promote these restaurants, United Fresh is offering a Taste of Dallas giveaway. Every Thursday through April 26, three winners will be drawn from the registered attendee list,

This year, the show will be co-located with three other organizations — the American Meat Institute, the Food Marketing Institute and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Organizers expect a total of 25,000 attendees at the May 1-3 show, with 1,200 exhibitors covering 1 million square feet of exhibition space. United Fresh expects about 210 exhibitors. Rajkovich said.

This year’s event will feature market segment workshops for grower/shippers, wholesaler/distributors, fresh-cut processors and retail/foodservice.

Continuing a popular setup of previous shows, learning and discussion areas will be in the exhibition area, allowing attendees to spend more time on the show floor. That improves networking possibilities, Rajkovich said.

United Fresh TV will again broadcast from the show floor for those unable to attend.

The Food Marketing Institute’s Chairman Fred Morganthall kicks off the convention with a May 1 keynote presentation. Morganthall is the president of Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Charlotte, N.C.

The Packer’s Produce Man/Woman of the Year award winner will also be recognized at the opening breakfast.

The May 2 morning general session features former first lady Laura Bush, who plans to share personal stories of how to remain positive and provide leadership in difficult circumstances.

David Krause, incoming United Fresh chairman, also is scheduled to speak. Krause, president of Paramount Citrus, Delano, Calif., is expected to offer his take on the future of the association and the year ahead for the produce industry.

The May 2 Women in Produce reception is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women leaders in the industry.

“This year’s event is especially meaningful as we celebrate our 15th anniversary of this program,” United Fresh president and chief executive officer Tom Stenzel said in an e-mail.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming back our past honorees and also celebrating the career of another outstanding leader at this year’s convention in Dallas,” he said.

On May 3, attendees from all four shows will come together for a joint session designed to address the combined audience of the various food industry professionals.