Dividend checks continue to get fatter in Corporate America, as more companies jack up their distribution rates.

Readers of the 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 Disney (NYSE: DIS). The family entertainment giant's new annual dividend is $0.40 a share, a healthy upgrade from the $0.35 a share it paid out a year ago. The new yield of 1.1% may seem like a Goofy windfall, but it leaves Disney enough money left over to invest in its growing media empire.

Deere (NYSE: DE) is also up for lifting more than heavy machinery. The agricultural equipment titan is boosting its quarterly payout by 17% to $0.35 a share. Investors should be used to this by now. This is the eighth hike that Deere has declared since 2004.

Turf tamer and irrigation specialist Toro (NYSE: TTC) is also watering its disbursements. Toro's new quarterly rate of $0.20 a share is an 11% upgrade. It's also returning money to investors by declaring its intention to repurchase 3 million of its outstanding shares.

Finally, we have Knoll (NYSE: KNL). The maker of office furniture is tripling its quarterly dividend to $0.06 a share. Here's my grassy Knoll theory: If the company is ratcheting up its payout, it must be confident that Corporate America's turnaround is for real. How else is Knoll going to move more of its trendy office furnishings?

It's encouraging to see companies improving their yields at a time when fixed-income investments are on the floor. These companies join casket maker Hillenbrand (NYSE: HI), welding equipment manufacturer Lincoln Electric (Nasdaq: LECO), and fluid manager Graco (NYSE: GGG) in sending more of their money back to their shareowners in recent days.

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 comment box below.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Toro is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Hillenbrand is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Disney. 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.