Demonstration Farms: A TVA Success Story Although it is little-known today, the test-demonstrations farm (TDF) program was a major ingredient of the Tennessee Valley Authority story, which began in the early 1930s. TVA was the federal government's solution to several needs in the Tennessee Valley. Before its founding during the early years of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, the valley had approximately 225,000 farms and a farm population of around 1.35 million. It was one of the most poverty stricken regions of the country. Only about 2 percent of the families had electricity. The seven-state TVA region had millions of acres of depleted, worn-out soil; suffered massive erosion; lacked efficient fertilizers; More 32 BlueRidgeCountry.com And why was Ralph impatient? Because he was awating the departure of the long coach bus in his father's driveway-a bus chartered by TVA for their guests. The knot of people around the owner of the farm-Garfield Blaine (G.B.) Peterson-was taking in the wonders of this showcase farm, which was in effect a schoolroom-for the c o m m u n i t y, the nation and the world.