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Commitment is a word often thrown around, but rarely backed up with actions. Salesmen are committed to your needs until you sign on the dotted line - then they are committed to next unsigned contract. A true measure of character is how committed are you to doing right when the times are hard and you are tempted to go astray? This same test can be applied to companies that pay and increase their dividends.

When the economy is booming and earnings are growing by double-digits, it is easy to increase dividends. But how about when the economy is slipping and margins are being squeezed? During these times are when you learn which companies are truly committed to their culture of increasing dividends.

Companies that have a reputation as good, solid dividend companies didn't gain this status overnight. It takes years, even decades, to build a relationship of trust with shareholders through increasing dividends. Many of these shareholders rely on dividend payments to provide for their families.

It is important to note, that this relationship is a two-way street. Shareholders in top-shelf dividend growth companies are not quick to sell. This was especially noticeable during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The very best dividend growth stocks did not fall near as much as stocks cutting their dividends or even the average stock.

This week week, I screened my dividend growth stocks database for stocks that have raised their dividends for 50+ consecutive years. The results are presented below:

Cincinnati Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CINF)

Yield: 5.5% | Years of Growth: 51

Cincinnati Financial Corp. markets primarily property and casualty coverage. It also conducts life insurance and asset management operations.

Vectren Corporation (NYSE:VVC)

Yield: 4.7% | Years of Growth: 52

Vectren Corp. is an energy holding company that delivers gas and/or electricity to more than one million utility customers in Indiana and Ohio, and offers other energy related products and services.

3M Company (NYSE:MMM)

Yield: 2.7% | Years of Growth: 53

3M Co. provides enhanced product functionality in electronics, health care, industrial, consumer, office, telecommunications, safety & security and other markets via coatings, sealants, adhesives, and other chemical additives.

Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC)

Yield: 3.1% | Years of Growth: 55

Genuine Parts Co is a leading wholesale distributor of automotive replacement parts, industrial parts and supplies, and office products.

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG)

Yield: 3.3% | Years of Growth: 55

The Procter & Gamble Company is a leading consumer products company that markets household and personal care products in more than 180 countries.

Northwest Natural Gas Co. (NYSE:NWN)

Yield: 3.7% | Years of Growth: 56

Northwest Natural Gas Co. is a natural gas utility that provides service to some 590,000 residential, 61,000 commercial and 900 industrial sales customers in Oregon and southwesternWashington.

Dover Corporation Corp. (NYSE:DOV)

Yield: 2.1% | Years of Growth: 56

Dover Corp. manufactures a broad range of specialized industrial products and sophisticated manufacturing equipment.

Parker-Hannifin Corp. (NYSE:PH)

Yield: 1.8% | Years of Growth: 56

Parker-Hannifin Corp is a global maker of industrial pneumatic, hydraulic and vacuum motion/control systems, including related pumps, valves, filters, hoses, etc. Its products are used in everything from jet engines to trucks and autos.

Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE:EMR)

Yield: 3.1% | Years of Growth: 56

Emerson Electric Co. designs and supplies product technology, and delivers engineering services and solutions to a wide range of industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world.

American States Water Co. (NYSE:AWR)

Yield: 3.2% | Years of Growth: 58

American States Water Co. primarily serves water customers in California. It also provides electric service to a small section of San Bernardino County.

Diebold, Inc. (NYSE:DBD)

Yield: 3.5% | Years of Growth: 58

Diebold, Inc. provides ATMs and other self-service transaction systems and security products to the financial, commercial, government and retail markets.

As with past screens, the data presented above is in its raw form. Some of the the companies would be disqualified for poor dividend fundamentals. However some of the others may be worth additional due diligence.

Full Disclosure: Long EMR, PG, GPC, MMM, VVC, CINF. See a list of all my dividend growth holdings here.

Source: 11 Dividend Stocks With More Than 50 Years Of Increases