Born in 1898 at Sentinel Butte, North Dakota, I. C. (Toby) Nollet received his education at St. Benedictís Academy and St. Thomas Military College in Minnesota. He served overseas with the American Expeditionary Force and spent a year in Germany with the army of occupation.
Following his return from overseas service he came with his father to Western Canada. After a careful survey of available lands they settled at Freemont, Saskatchewan, establishing a ranching operation stocked with Aberdeen Angus cattle. In 1957, the ranch was sold to a group of neighbours, who formed a cooperative venture known as the Neilburg Cooperative Grazing Association.
During his years as a rancher and farmer, Toby Nollet took a keen interest in community affairs. For three terms he was Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Hillsdale and an active member of the United Farmers of Canada. He was a member of various cooperatives, including the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, and helped to organize Canadian Cooperative Implements Limited in the area.
Toby Nolletís activity in the Farmer-Labour party led to membership and support of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation in the early 1930s. He was elected a Member of the Provincial Legislature in 1944 and continued to represent the Cutknife constituency for the C.C.F. until his retirement from active politics in 1967.
He was Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly from 1944 to 1946, when he became Minister of Agriculture, a post he held until 1964 when the C.C.F. was defeated in a general election. During his term as Minister, he was responsible for many changes in his Department, all designed to improve the lot of the Provinceís farmers.
Under his guidance, the Lands Branch and the Conservation and Development Branch were established the latter providing an engineering service to deal with soil and water problems, flood control, irrigation and reclamation. Provincial community pastures were developed which now accommodate well over 100,000 head of cattle. Under an Earned Assistance Policy, hundreds of erosion control projects were undertaken, thousands of miles of field shelter belts were planted and more than 100 community grazing associations were organized and assisted.
In 1958, a farm management service was added and a project which he had enthusiastically supported was launched with the signing of an agreement between Provincial and Federal governments to develop the South Saskatchewan River project, now completed and known as the Gardiner Dam and Diefenbaker Lake. In the early 1960s, Toby Nollet added to his Department the Family Farm Improvement Branch and a crop insurance program, and an Economics and Statistics Branch was organized.
Toby Nollet lives in Regina and still maintains a keen interest in the fortunes of the Provinceís farmers.