Formal notice has been given to 53 landowners that their farms will not be taken for a controversial irrigation scheme on the Canterbury Plains.
The farms were subject to a Notice of Requirement, which meant land owners could not sell or improve them without the approval of irrigation company Central Plains Water Limited.
The notices were issued despite the company's irrigation scheme only being a proposal.
Central Plains Water says the private farmland is now not needed because it is unlikely that part of the controversial irrigation scheme would be approved.
Hearings about a scaled down version of the scheme affecting 61 other ratepayers will begin in October.
The decision ends years of stress for many families, who in some cases would have seen their family farms bulldozed to make way for a dam and canal construction.
Notices of Requirement are usually allowed only when public amenities, such as new electricity supply lines or roads, are planned.
Selwyn District Council will update its land records accordingly.