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 Deere (NYSE: DE). The maker of agricultural equipment is harvesting a more bountiful dividend. Deere's new quarterly rate of $0.41 a share is a 17% improvement. Shareholders should be used to this by now, since Deere has come through with nine increases over the past seven years.

Home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE: LOW) is also doing some spring cleaning by springing its distributions. These may be tough times for the real estate and remodeling industries, but Lowe's is still coming through by jacking up its quarterly payout by 27% to $0.14 a share.

H.J. Heinz (NYSE: HNZ) is also pouring it on -- nice and slowly like one of its signature ketchup bottles. Heinz will now be shelling out $0.48 a share every three months, 7% ahead of its previous rate. Heinz sticks to small boosts, but they do add up over time. The food giant's disbursements have grown by 80% since fiscal 2004.

Finally, we have baked goods maker Flowers Foods (NYSE: FLO) sending more bread to its stakeholders. Flowers is increasing its payouts by 13%. Flowers also announced a 3-for-2 stock split.

These companies join health care specialists McKesson (NYSE: MCK), Omnicare (NYSE: OCR), and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH) in propping up their yields.

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.

The Motley Fool owns shares of UnitedHealth Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of HJ Heinz, UnitedHealth Group, Flowers Foods, McKesson, and Lowe's, along with writing covered calls on Lowe's and creating a diagonal call position in UnitedHealth Group. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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.