Last year may have been a year of dividend slashing, but there are now more and more companies committed to sending more money out to their shareholders in 2010.

Readers of the Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at some of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

Let's start with Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK). The world's largest player in industrial automation and information is boosting its quarterly dividend by 21% to $0.35 a share. The move props the stock's yield from 2.3% to 2.7%, an attractive payout in light of the paltry rates being shelled out elsewhere.

Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO) is also sending more dough to its stakeholders. The bread maker behind Nature's Own and Cobblestone Mill pre-sliced loaves is heating up its quarterly distributions by 14% to $0.20 a share.

Greif (NYSE: GEF) is also packing more punch into its payouts. The industrial packaging specialist is improving its quarterly rate by 11% to $0.42 a share. Investors should be used to the chunkier checks by now. Greif has boosted its dividend seven times over the past decade.

Finally, we have Daktronics (Nasdaq: DAKT) scoring with its owners. The maker of electronic scoreboards and other display systems declared an annual disbursement of $0.10, a move that is 5% ahead of what it shelled out last year.

Companies are starting to return more of their money to their investors, and shareholders aren't likely to be complaining. It also helps market watchers spot inspiring trends. When home improvement superstore Lowe's and residential window and door specialist Quanex Building Products (NYSE: NX) jacked up their rates two weeks ago, it was a healthy indicator that folks are starting to spend more on upgrading their homes.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Do higher dividends matter to you? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Flowers Foods is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. Lowe's is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.