Agriculture is the largest employer in Bagalkot, with over 65% of the working population engaged in it; approximately 80% of female workers in Bagalkot are engaged in agriculture. Like most of north Karnataka, Bagalkot is very rich in black soil which is conducive to the cultivation of cotton. Bagalkot’s economy was valued at US$ 5.6 billion, making it the 12th largest economy in Karnataka. The approximate per capital income is US$ 360. The chief crops cultivated are rabi and jowar, as well as groundnut, cotton, maize, bajra, wheat, sugarcane and tobacco. Jowar is largely cultivated because it can be grown during rainy seasons as well as during the winters. The crop also is the chief supply of food for the people. Pulses are also grown in the region, primarily tuvar daal, gram, kulith and mūng daal. Castor oil, linseed and sesamum are also grown in Bagalkot. Water supply for irrigation includes reservoirs such as the Kendur reservoir, which is six miles from Badami and the Muchkundi reservoir, which is 4 miles from Badami. Famine due to lack of adequate rains is quite common in Bagalkot. A famine that struck the region in 1901 inflicted considerable financial loss to the agricultural industry in Bagalkot. The district has the fifth highest farmer suicide rate in Karnataka.Efficient water management techniques and government sops have only marginally mitigated the repercussions of the drought stricken district.
A sizable proportion of the population also consists of weavers. The chief manufactures are cotton and silk cloths. Large quantities of cotton yarn are also dyed and exported to other parts of the state and country. Most of the immigrants in the district are either money lenders or cloth merchants.