For those of en economic mind it is madness to give grants to buy land, as it only puts up the price of land. Therefore any aid is doomed to fail in any serious objective.
In my many years with the Wildlife Trust I saw this repeatedly, especially when the Heritage Lottery fund gave Land purchase grants. The irony is that people at the lowest income levels are buying lottery tickets to increase the wealth of the very richest in society, through the use of Heritage Lottery funds to purchase 'nature reserves'.
Land as a finite commodity and its price is directly linked to the sum total of money in the economy. Money is created by borrowing (sounds mad but is true). Therefore as the money supply has increased enormously so has land values.
The money supply will decrease as we enter the recession proper over the next 5 years and thus land values will go down. This has been a cyclic process and has gone on for hundreds, if not, thousands of years
This is why a tax on land values is so important as it would reduce the speculators and people who sit on land without doing something with it and it would buffer the cycles and super cycles of land value bubbles and busts.
It is impossible for any farmer to buy land and make a living from it from extensive farming as land values are too high. A Land Value tax with tax relief for sustainability, wildlife etc. would redress that balance that exists, pop the bubble of land values and make extensive farming economically viable for those who do not own land at the moment.
Direct grants such as ELS and HLS are economic madness as you are pushing up the value of land through the direct subsidy of merely owning it.
In fact the existence of ELS, HLS and single farm payment has pushed land values out of the reach of most charitable organisation or individuals wishing to acquire land for extensive grazing. They are in essence a direct subsidy to those who already own land, giving a huge untaxed capital gain of billions of pounds to existing land owners.